Noel Clive Goodman obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Noel Clive Goodman

September 22, 1933 - March 10, 2017

Obituary


Falmouth - Noel C. Goodman, MD

Noel Goodman died on March 10, 2017 at the age of 83 with his devoted and loving wife, Annette, at his side.

Noel was born on September 22, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He endured a difficult childhood that caused him to underperform academically, and his teachers told him that he was not intelligent enough to attend college. As money was in short supply, it would have been easy to accept that destiny, but Noel's unbridled determination, combined with his score on a competitive exam enabled...

Falmouth - Noel C. Goodman, MD

Noel Goodman died on March 10, 2017 at the age of 83 with his devoted and loving wife, Annette, at his side.

Noel was born on September 22, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He endured a difficult childhood that caused him to underperform academically, and his teachers told him that he was not intelligent enough to attend college. As money was in short supply, it would have been easy to accept that destiny, but Noel's unbridled determination, combined with his score on a competitive exam enabled him to attend New York University, where he became an ROTC cadet, training to become an infantry officer in the United States Army. During college, Noel majored in German, and his academic performance improved dramatically. He came to believe that perhaps he had what it took to complete medical school. He applied to New York University College of Medicine and was accepted.

With the Korean War ending, Noel's active military service was deferred, which enabled him to begin medical school immediately after graduating from NYU. Living with his parents, and commuting on the subway, Noel studied relentlessly, literally walking around with his nose in a book. One such stroll led to a collision with a young nursing student in a stairwell at Bellevue Hospital. Her name was Annette Konowitz. After each gave the other the business about how they should watch where they were going, they fell in love and were married on June 23, 1958.

After earning his MD Degree, Noel served eight years of active duty in the United States Army. Although his training and passion were in the field of neurology, the Army was in great need of psychiatrists to help soldiers who had experienced the horrible tragedies of war. Noel volunteered to learn this new specialty and grew to have great love for it. During the Vietnam War, Noel was stationed at a military hospital in Fort Knox, Kentucky where he treated countless soldiers and developed skills that would lead to his long-lasting and successful career in civilian psychiatry. On December 24, 1968, Noel was discharged, having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After returning to live in New York for several years, Noel and Annette took vacation in Maine and said, "This is a place to raise a family." In 1973, they moved with their three children to Lewiston and then Portland, where Noel practiced psychiatry for the next 42 years. At different times, Noel had staff privileges or full-time employment at various hospitals in Maine, but his true love was having his own private practice, where he could be his own boss and give each of his patients personalized attention. Even in 2015, Noel practiced medicine in a way that was, for the most part, a thing of the past, answering his own telephone and often making special arrangements for his patients. For patients without insurance and/or little financial means, he would see them for $10 per session and, if they had no ability to pay, he would treat them for free. Noel's kindness and compassion were only exceeded by his ability to help people with severe mental illness. Patients often came to him in crisis and, in many cases, seriously contemplating suicide. Noel worked tirelessly with each of them as individuals to get them living and working happily and productively. His commitment to patient privacy far preceded (and exceeded) HIPAA, and he truly saved literally hundreds of lives, never once boasting or seeking recognition. Chances are, a great many of us know someone whose life he saved.

Aside from practicing and studying medicine, Noel had a singular hobby - his family. From encouraging Annette to go back to college at 46 to pursue her dreams, to sitting in cold hockey rinks and at rainy or snowy outdoor events to cheer on his kids, to boating days on Sebago Lake, Noel unwaveringly loved and supported his wife and children. Well before it became a widely-held societal view, one of Noel's greatest gifts to his children was teaching them that anyone can fall victim to mental illness and that mental illness is not something to be stigmatized.

Despite being highly educated and extraordinarily intelligent, Noel took great pride in being a "regular guy" who would often fix his own car or sing with the band at a wedding. Noel planned to practice psychiatry "until they carry me out of my office in a box." In the fall of 2015, however, following a routine day of seeing his own patients, Noel suffered complications during a cataract procedure that forced his "early" retirement at the age of 82. Noel spent the next year and a half voraciously reading books that, for once, were not medical journals or textbooks; he got to spend one final Thanksgiving with all of his children and grandchildren together at the dinner table; and he took a cherished trip to Mexico with Annette and their three youngest grandchildren, where he got to bask in the warm tropical sunlight one final time.

In February of 2017, Noel's health rapidly declined and he took his last breath on March 10. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Annette, his daughter, Dr. Madeline Goodman, his sons David and Jon, his daughters-in-law Darlene and Janel (who he also considered to be his children); his grandchildren Rhett, Jacob, Eliana, Sammy, and Joseph; his sister Laura Taubes and her extended family; and his sister-in-law Rita Brady and her extended family. He was predeceased by his parents Charles and Anna Goodman and his brother, Larry Goodman.

Funeral Services will be held at: Congregation Bet Ha'am, 81 Westbrook Street in South Portland, Maine on Monday March 13, 2017 at 1:00pm.
In lieu of flowers, Noel's wish was that donations be made to the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook, Maine; VNA Home Health & Hospice in South Portland, Maine; or the NAMI Maine (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in Augusta, Maine.

Arrangements under the direction of Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, Portland, ME.