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Tom Goodson – A Santa Clara Gem

It’s rare to find a person who has touched so many people’s lives. But that is exactly what Tom Goodson did with so many people in Santa Clara.

Sadly, Tom Goodson passed away on Friday, Jan. 14. As word spread through social media, the comments were all heartfelt and many spoke of how they came to know Goodson or their memories of him.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Goodson was the face of Santa Clara and many people referred to him as “Mr. Santa Clara.” Even if you didn’t know him, chances are very good someone you know had met him or had happy memories of him. That’s a testament to his friendly and outgoing personality.

Asking people for their opinion of him, it was amazing to see how many people knew or had been influenced through something he had done for the community.

“He was the type of person every parent wanted their children to grow up to be like. He cared so much for the community and everyone he met,” explained Jolene.  “He was my son’s coach and whenever I’d see him in town, he was always so nice and sweet.”

Goodson’s list of accomplishments and achievements is very long. He was an active volunteer in the City since 1964 and was an active volunteer at Pomeroy Elementary School starting in 1976.  Goodson was the Grand Marshall in the Parade of Champions in 1964 and was inducted into the Santa Clara Unified School District’s Hall of Fame in 2011 for all his years of service as a Youth Coach and Community Volunteer.

The term “volunteer” is something that Goodson set a new bar for by being a volunteer for the district for nearly 50 years. The Santa Clara North Little League named a field in Montague Park after him – the “Goodson Field” – to commemorate the fact he coached local Little League teams to 10 Championships which helped him earn the title of Little League Volunteer of the Year for Northern California.

In 2013, Goodson was chosen to light the City’s holiday tree.  In 2019, Tom was the honorary Parade Marshall in the return of the Parade of Champions.

Goodson was known for one very memorable quote – “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.”

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5 Comments
  1. Larry Flora 4 months ago
    Reply

    Amazing man. His room must be filled with photo albums, God Bless You Tom!

  2. Ronette Lopez 4 months ago
    Reply

    TOM YOU WILL BE MISSED FOREVER…
    THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LITTLE AWARDS AND HAPPINESS YOU BROUGHT TO MY CHILDREN THAT WENT TO POMEROY…
    THEY WERE AND I WAS TRULY BLESSED TO OF HAD YOU IN OUR LIVES…
    FLY HIGH….
    AND REST YOU DEFINITLY DESERVE THE BEST..
    BECAUSE OF YOUR KINDNESS AND LOVING WAYS…
    GOODBYE TOM

  3. NP 4 months ago
    Reply

    I first met Tom when I was getting cash out of an ATM. He walked right towards me, and I admit I kept an eye on him. As he got closer he said good morning, and I replied. He stopped and said that he was grateful that I had said good morning back. Ever after, wherever I saw him, I’d stop and chat with him. It was years later when he invited me to his birthday party (I’m sure he didn’t even know my name) that I learned who he was. Before that, I just thought he was an aged, friendly, warm person that walked everywhere. Last time I saw him, I was driving, and I waved at him as I sped past. He waved back. He could not have possibly recognized me. That man was so full of good it’s ridiculous. Had I not read this article, I would have continued in ignorance, thinking him still out walking and smiling to everyone everywhere, forever. Rest easy, Tom. I will miss you.

  4. Tom Munoz 4 months ago
    Reply

    My sister Adeline & I got to know Tom from the senior center of Santa Clara. We took many trips on the bus from there. He love going Monterey, pier 39 & the ball games. He always sat with me on the bus trips. You will never meet a nicer person ! He love the city of Santa Clara & all the people he came in contact with. RIP my friend..

  5. Eva 3 months ago
    Reply

    Tom volunteered at Pomeroy when I was a student there. I still have one of his commemorative buttons he gave out and it’s been 20 years since I went to Pomeroy! It’s survived multiple purges in my home because he was that important of a person to me. He always made me feel welcome and valued as a student even though I was an antisocial anime nerd and not very good at sports. He will be dearly missed. Thank you for everything Tom.

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