–submitted by Linda Maremont; photo by Stacy Nemeth
Doug Moe, long-time Madison journalist, shared several anecdotes and points of interest gathered during his research for his new book, Good Men: The Lives and Philanthropy of Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman. When the Goodman Foundation Board approached Moe about writing the book, he acknowledged that he accepted with some trepidation. The Goodman brothers were famously private throughout their lives and Moe had never personally met them.
Moe was able to interview 35 people who had known the Goodmans and shared some amusing stories about the rarely seen personal side of the brothers’ lives. Irwin and Bob’s father came to America with $12.00. After changing his surname from Gutmann to the anglicized Goodman, he joined his brothers to open Goodman Jewelers. The State Street store opened in 1934 and Bob and Irwin ran the store together until they sold the store to the manager in 1998. The brothers shared a passion for healthy living, sports, their business, their mother, each other, and their extraordinary devotion to philanthropy.
Their charitable works in the community were significant both in size and scope. The local community can thank the Goodmans for sizeable donations which funded the city’s first public community pool, the UW women’s softball diamond, a Jewish community center campus in Verona, and the Goodman Community Center on the east side of Madison.
Moe’s presentation was followed by a number of comments by those who had personally experienced the kindness and generosity of the Goodman brothers. Irwin and Bob clearly left an indelible mark on the community and Moe’s book provides engaging insight into the background of the men who impacted the lives of so many.