David Goodwin, Raymond Closson served the city well
I am writing this column on Dec. 7. In a rare confluence of events, this date has historic importance to New Hampshire for a number of related, and unrelated, reasons:First, this is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which caused the entry of the United States into World War II. A very long time, and one which probably marks the last time survivors of that attack will be able to mark the event with personal presence.In an historic mark of the transfer of the notice to the younger generation, the Manchester Central High School Band, one of the best, if not the best, in New Hampshire, raised sufficient private funds to attend and perform in Honolulu for the event. On a personal note, William S. Green, one of the founders of my law firm and a graduate of Central High School, went to war in the Pacific and was promoted to the rank of major in the Marines.Next, in quick succession because of the death of notable citizens, two funerals were held on Dec. 7.David P. Goodwin, grandson of the founder of the Goodwin Funeral Home in Manchester, died at age 93 after a brief illness.Vital to the end, Dave Goodwin participated in every civic activity imaginable short of elected public office, chairing the boards of many of the organizations and making significant contributions of time, effort and funds to the Boys and Girls Club, Easter Seals, Moore Center, United Way, hospitals, schools and almost every worthy cause in Manchester. He received the William S. Green Award from the Granite United Way, its highest honor, a few years earlier.At a lovely service at the First Congregational Church in Manchester on the 7th, the pastor of the church and speakers including Carolyn Benthien and two of the Goodwin grandchildren cited Dave Goodwin as a paragon of "connectedness." That means he connected with people, connected people to each other, was a walking repository of the history both of individuals and of the city and state, and never hesitated to educate others on these topics.As a neighbor and friend on Heather Street in Manchester, I would often marvel at the detail with which Dave Goodwin could remember events from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. It was almost impossible to name someone he did not know, and when he knew the person, he knew the person's family, parents, cousins, residence and probably had participated with the family in the tough times funerals directors have to address.His wife, Dorothy Goodwin, who died last year, also was a vital part of the Manchester community.Raymond E. Closson's funeral was also held that day.Closson, a senior vice president of Public Service Company during his working career, also participated in the community greatly. He was the recipient of the William S. Green Award given by the Elliot Hospital, of which he served as board chairman.Closson had been involved in many other activities along with his wife Helen, who survives him. Helen Closson is an active member of the Franco-American community and representatives of that group were prominent among those attending the services.At Manchester's Saint Catherine of Sienna Church, the Closson family and others paid tribute to Ray Closson's character, spirit, contributions and valor. What many did not know until he died was that Ray Closson was a German prisoner of war during World War II.Both Dave Goodwin and Ray Closson served their community well.*****Also on Dec. 7, the new Roman Catholic bishop of Manchester, Peter Anthony Libasci, celebrated vesper services at St. Joseph Cathedral in Manchester.His coming to New Hampshire marks the end of the term of Bishop John B. McCormack as head of the Diocese of Manchester.Bishop McCormack performed admirably in the face of formidable objections due to his service in the archdiocese of Boston. No one could ever point to anything but faithful service to the people of New Hampshire. His intention to stay here and continue to contribute enforce the fact that John McCormack has been a faithful servant to our state.Bishop Libasci, from Long Island, N.Y., was welcomed with great fanfare at his installation and should be welcomed by all New Hampshirites who know how important a place the Roman Catholic Church has in its history, culture and present activities.His first homily at the Vesper Service was laced with theology, humor and grace, which were welcome signs of his pastorate of the diocese.Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He also serves as secretary of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.