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Charles Joseph Goodner ’51

July 9, 2018, on Lopez Island, Washington.

Charles—or Joe, as he was known—was born in Seattle, Washington, where his grandfather was a professor at the University of Washington. One day Joe would follow in those footsteps.

Majoring in biology at Reed, he wrote his thesis, “A Tracer Study of the Conversion of Serine to Alanine in the Silk Worm,” with Prof. Frank P. Hungate [biology 1946–52] advising.

His junior year at Reed, he met his future wife, Oakley Comstock ’53. They married after Joe’s graduation and moved to Salt Lake City, where Joe entered medical school and Oakley taught sixth grade in a private girls’ school. Joe graduated and interned in Salt Lake City, and the couple moved to Boston, where Joe finished training as an academic endocrinologist. He moved his family to Germany, where he served for two years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force as a physician at Ramstein Air Base.

In 1962, Joe joined the medical school faculty stationed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Eventually, he joined the faculty of the University of Washington. After making their home in Kirkland, Joe and Oakley bought an old farm property on Lopez Island where they developed a working family sheep operation. They lived in a tent while building a guesthouse, a main house, and a barn. In support of the Lopez Island Medical Clinic, Joe became a board member of the Catherine Washburn Medical Association.

He was an accomplished skier, spending memorable time atop mountains in Utah and Washington. Joe was also an international birder, and every year he and Oakley went on guided bird trips around the world. In addition to seeing nearly half of the world’s avian species, they visited many of the most interesting places on earth, absorbing each unique terrain far better than they might have with conventional travel focused on cities and tourist venues.

In January, Joe developed complications with his artificial knee, leading to infection, which progressed rapidly and proved to be fatal. He died at home, surrounded by his family, three days after the death of his dog, Tru. He was preceded in death by Oakley and his daughter Gretchen and is survived by his son, Philip, and his daughter Stephanie.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2018

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