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John Vincent Goldsmith Jr. ’88

A picture of John Goldsmith and his friends on Thanksgiving Day 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 brought John Goldsmith ’88 (standing, center) together with alumni friends, including Bryne Anderson ’86, April Brown ’90, Jean Field ’84, Bill Fitch ’86, Adam Green ’85, Eric Gier ’87, Kilian Kerwin ’85, Benn Lewis ’84, Maria Manuela Chora Lewis ’88, Jimmy Ng ’87, Cate Palmer ’85, Sebastian Pastore ’88, Amanda Six ’91, and George Wehn ’84.

John V. Goldsmith Jr. ’88, February 17, 2013, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, from cardiac arrest.

Our thanks to Leslie Mehren ’87 and Cate Palmer ’85 for gathering memories from John’s many friends and writing this memorial piece for Reed.

“Suddenly the hero saw that the living too are dead and that we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasure; for our hearts are not strong enough to love every moment. And not an hour had gone by before the hero who was both watching life and living it called on Zeus to release him from so terrible a dream. The gods heard him, but before he left he fell upon the ground and kissed the soil of the world that is too dear to be realized.” (The Woman of Andros, by Thornton Wilder)

John(ny) attended Reed as a chemistry major in 1984–85. He finished an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Maryland, and went on to get a PhD in economics there in 1992. While at UMD, he worked as a copy boy in the Washington bureau of the New York Daily News. After brief stints at Exeter Associates and Deloitte & Touche, John worked as an industry economist in the FDA’s medical devices section. He liked that his job allowed him “to use mathy ways to figure out the world.” John once described the Iran hostage crisis as “that time Walter Cronkite tried to teach America to count.” His sense of humor, combined with an incredible memory and an eye for detail, allowed him to connect many dots the rest of us missed. He was an amazingly intelligent, curious, funny, and kind guy, and made perfect Manhattans. Cate recalls John saying, “I don’t believe I have ever met anyone quite like you—and that this is more or less what Cybill Shepherd said to Travis Bickle is a mere coincidence.” John excelled at staying close to his friends, maintaining friendships over decades while retaining an astonishing catalogue of small events and memories collected over the years. He could literally pick up a story where it had left off years before, which often meant that it was hard to live anything down around him. He could tease mercilessly but just as often included himself in on the joke. John was known to refer to himself by saying, “The Irish, you know, we’re not a pretty people.” Motivated by his great love of life and his dedication to his children, Nora and Henry, John strove to learn new things and never waste time. John embraced race car driving with the same passion he held for opera, art, and politics. He showed a great deal of discipline and determination as he dealt so well with life’s curveballs, and he went down swinging. He would love to know that we are trying as hard and laughing as much as we can. Leslie wrote, “It is never easy to lose a friend, and he is missed beyond measure.” Survivors include his wife, Kim Rogers; his two adored children; and his parents and brothers.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2013

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