George Goddard was 71 years old when he died suddenly on Feb. 16. A memorial service was held on Sunday.
When I was a freshman at Columbus College, which is now, as you know, Columbus State University, George taught art.
When I first saw him on campus, he was striding around, with that wild, curly hair framing his head.
I think it was later that year that I decided to take photography because I was on the newspaper staff and knew that I’d have to double sometimes as reporter and photographer.
When I walked into class, it was that wild, curly-headed man who was teaching. I really thought he was one of the older students we always had on campus. Nope. He was the professor.
I found out his method of teaching was to give the basics, and then you had to learn for yourself how to take a photograph, develop the print and then print the picture.
He wasn’t one of those hand-holding guys. He made you work. And you learned.
At least I did.
But could I develop film now? No. But I don’t think our photographers on staff could do it either. They’d get it after a few tries, but our darkroom disappeared years ago.
George retired from CSU several years ago, and I think he put in at least 30 years there.
When George died, I called a lot of people to get their comments.
“He was always just a part of the arts scene for the past 30 years,” Garry Pound said. Garry is a fine artist. “He was so involved in Columbus College and a whole generation of kids. When I came back, George took me under his wing and made me feel accepted.
“He had a creative kind of spirit and was always working. I think he was loving retirement. He seemed to be more creative.”
Another local artist, Geri Davis, said George was “a man who never said, ‘No,’ to anybody. He was always willing to share his talent; share his expertise. I just enjoyed knowing him.
“An artist, no matter what they do, whatever they create, they leave a legacy. He’s done just that. All you have to do is look around town. You’ll see George Goddard.”
Even though his masters degree in fine art was in printmaking, he was a photographer and sculptor, and spent much of his time sculpting. His work can be seen around town.
George and his wife, Suzanne, lived in the Historic District.
“He was a great neighbor and on top of that, he was a great guy, a great friend,” said Fred Greene, who lives in the District. “He’ll be sorely missed.”
Another neighbor, Eric Maddox, said he met George right after he moved to Columbus six years ago. “He was soft-spoken and easygoing and a really nice person.”
Sally Gates was a long-time friend.
“He was a teacher who got involved,” she said. “He worked along with his students. Oh, not on the students’ work, but it felt like working with a real artist. Someone who worked alongside you.”
Sally went back to school and got a degree in art in the late 1980s.
She said George had gone back to school himself recently and loved working in the new facility downtown.
“He was just so involved in sculpture and I know lately, he was excited about studying under Mike McFalls.”
My condolences to George’s family.
Sandra Okamoto, sokamoto@ledger- enquirer.com or 706-571-8580.