An Appreciation:Bob Goodwin Made a Difference at Beacon House

By Mary Hirsch

It’s a sad day at Beacon House, a senior community residence on Beacon Hill because Bob Goodwin, one of its most beloved and respected residents, “bit the dust” (as he would have said) last Monday and took all the joy with him: he was laughter and positivity personified, unlike most of its crusty residents, bless their little hearts.

Bob Goodwin, early 70s, lived and died by his own rules – to the end. A local Boston boy, he skipped college (“too much of a clown,” he’d say) and joined the U.S. Army to serve his country and travel the world, which he did. And that’s where he first fell in love with travel and history, later to become an expert in the field by reading voraciously.

When he returned to Boston, he held a number of odd jobs throughout the years (Beacon Hill Village, Kings Chapel) always accompanied by a book – something that became an appendage of the Goodwin persona. You never saw Bob Goodwin without a book.

For the last 20 years chose to live at beautiful and legendary Beacon House, a residence for low/medium income seniors and pretty much became synonymous with the place. He loved Beacon House and appreciated its history and location. He loved life; he loved children, adored dogs (and cats) and was a devoted New England Patriots fan.

Early in the mornings, weather permitting, one would find Bob sitting on a bench outside the building with his newspaper and cup of coffee, watching the world on the Hill go by: millennials off to work, students off to school and mommies pushing strollers off to pre-school. His favorite pastime of all was petting the myriad dogs on the Hill who stopped by to get a pat on the head and a “cookie” from Uncle Bobby.

For a retired public relations professional who met, literally, thousands of people, I’ve gone just about completely the other way: I’m “peopled out.” I’ve seen and heard the best and worst of people but once in a while, there comes along a Bob Goodwin who makes your life a little brighter each and every time you bump into him. He always had something good, positive and funny to say. Sooooo refreshing!!

This is what I’ll miss about “Uncle Bobby”: His laughter and appreciation for his many blessings; his love of country, family, cats, dogs and children. And food: Lord, did he love his food! But that’s another story…

Above all, I loved the fact that he never, ever complained about his physical ailments and bored you with the usual, useless and depressing chatter of headaches, constipation, backaches and maladies that we, seniors, not unlike classic cars, are heir to. He simply took it in stride. My Man!

As well, Bob was humble and never bragged. If he gave you an opinion, it was usually based on fact because he read so much and kept informed. If he didn’t like you (usually for a good reason), he let you know. He had a terrific sense of humor and self-deprecating at that. You could always count on Bob to cheer you on if you needed support and to give advice when needed – IF – and only IF, – you asked for it. My Man!

I’ll miss his nightly commanding of the best chair in front of the television in the Community Room whose French windows faced our beautiful deck. During commercials, Bob would point at the deck and say, “This is where the alien spaceship docks and dumps the space cadets that inhabit this place!” And we’d have a good laugh.

Another source of bittersweet laughter for Bob (and the rest of us), upon the passing of a resident would comment, “Why not take the space cadets, Lord, why the ‘nice’ ones!?” Then, again, who’s to say?

I’ll miss you, dear friend and ask that you give my love to my beautiful Siamese, Sir Anthony and Christina. You, sir, were no space cadet, so I just hope that when the ship lands again on the dock, it brings us someone who meets with your approval.

There will never be anyone like you; we’ll all miss you. Hope the food is as good in Heaven!

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