February 26, 1925 – March 20, 2021
Ernest Goodman passed away from natural causes at the age of 96 at Cooperstown Center. He was born Ernst Josef Guttmann in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) to Rose (Wagner) and Herbert Guttmann, and their large and thriving family. In November of 1939, at age 14, he became one of almost 10,000 German and Austrian Jewish and non-Aryan children rescued by the British government in what became known as the Kindertransport. His older brother and only sibling Henry had gone before in the Spring of 1939. Parents sent their children ranging from infancy to 17 years of age to the British Isles, for adoption or work, in a desperate attempt to save them from the Nazis. Surviving family members escaped to Cuba, London, and Bolivia. Ernest was placed on a farm in Staffordshire, England, where he milked the cows and did farm chores. He waited and prayed for the day he would turn 18 and immediately joined the British Army, becoming a member of the legendary Coldstream Guards. His name was anglicized to protect him in case he was captured by the Nazis. After spearheading an attack against the Germans in Normandy, Belgium and Holland in September 1944 with the Infantry of the Guards’ Armored Division, he was severely wounded and spent months in military hospitals, almost dying from rheumatic fever. Ernest was convalescing in London when he met Elisabeth Oakley who worked in the War Office as part of her Army duty. He was 21 and she was 18 when they met taking classes offered for enrichment. Sitting at the back of the class and watching her in the front row, he decided she was the one he would marry, and they did in November of 1946. Her large and warm family welcomed him with open arms. Jobs were scarce in post-war England, so in 1953 Ernest left for the US where his mother and other members of his scattered family had settled in Chicago. Betty and their young son Paul followed a few months later. Ernest knew he wanted a college education, so after some research they moved, with Paul and new daughter Ann to Nebraska, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hastings College, and a Master’s degree and PhD in Political Science from the University of Nebraska. In 1963 the New York State University System was expanding and seeking staff. Ernie and his family packed up and moved to Oneonta, where they happily became immersed in the community. In 1967, when the college decided to offer summer semesters in Germany, Ernest was asked to head the program. The Goodman family joined Ernest for a wonderful year abroad and he began a visiting Professorship at the University of Wuerzburg that lasted throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Ernie loved his work teaching and mentored those students in which he saw promise. He retired in 1991. Betty retired in 1992 after serving as Oneonta City Clerk for 7 years. They enjoyed travel and family in the years that followed. In 2014 Ernest was honored to have a scholarship at SUNY Oneonta established in his name. Ernest is survived by his beloved wife of 75 years, his daughter Ann Goodman, her husband Joel Weinstein, and grandsons Michael and Benjamin Weinstein. A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, March 23. Donations in Ernest’s memory may be made to the Ernest Goodman Scholarship Fund at SUNY Oneonta.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Todd J. Zimmer
April 18, 2021
I was a SUNY Oneonta political science major from 1986-90. Dr. Goodman was my professor in 1988 for his class on the Holocaust. The perspective he brought to the class from his immense intellectual knowledge and having served with the British Army, Infantry of the Guards ' Armored Division was both captivating and for myself, life changing. His division freed concentration camp prisoners. As he told us of the scenes of horror he witnessed, he looked out the window of the classroom and recall him uttering the words, "My God..." He was in a way there and peering back into history for our benefit, a history we must never forget. He truly cared about his students and he was simply the greatest professor in the political science department I had the pleasure of receiving an education from. Never have I ever forgotten the impact Professor Goodman had on me. When I became a successful attorney, it was my distinct honor to play a large role in endowing the scholarship in his name. In May of 2013 I had the privilege of having a wonderful lunch with Dr. Goodman at the Farmhouse restaurant in Oneonta. Getting to tell him how much of an impact he had on my life, both personally and professionally, was something I was so very happy I got to do. He was in every way the wonderful man I got to know as a student many years before. He will always live on in my heart and in my most fond memories. My love, prayers and thoughts are with his entire family.
April 14, 2021
I have such fond memories of Dr. Goodman. I was a student at Oneonta and graduated in 1981. I took Dr. Goodman's class on the Holocaust and was fascinated both by his personal and historical knowledge. I wanted to learn more and we had some wonderful discussions in his office and stayed in touch for a number of years after I graduated. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. My sincere condolences to his family.
Bart and Elizabeth Brush
April 11, 2021
It was an honor to know Dr. Goodman as a family friend and colleague of our father at SUNY Oneonta.
March 28, 2021
So sorry to hear of Ernest passing I thought he was a real gentleman and he was always very helpful to your mom and I when I came to visit the gardens I have not seen him in a while nor your mom but I will be visiting her soon
March 26, 2021
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to get to know Ernie and call him my friend. I truly enjoyed my time with him and Betty over our years in Cooperstown. Happy memories of them will be with me forever.
My condolences to Ann and her family.
March 26, 2021
Dr Goodman was just fantastic. He was smart, witty, funny and knowledgeable. A great professor and a great person. I still remember when Simon Wiesenthal came to Oneonta to speak, and I grabbed Dr Goodman and we ran to WONY (school radio station) and they let us take over the station to do an impromptu show about Wiesenthal, and then we had dinner together with Wiesenthal before the lecture.
March 25, 2021
Dr. Goodman was a wonderful professor and a truly remarkable human being. I will always remember his kindness, encouragement and sense of humor. He touched many lives and his light will be missed.
Theresa Schillaci - Class of ‘80
March 24, 2021
Ernie was a hero ... in every definition of the word. It was a privilege to know him.
May his memory be a blessing.
Julie and Sam Pollak
March 24, 2021
Dr. Goodman was a very good man and quality professor. I had the privilege to work with him in developing a course regarding the Holocaust--a subject with which he was unfortunately quite familiar. I have very fond memories of his classes, but even more importantly his humanity. I am comforted that he was able to live a long, productive and meaningful life. He certainly had an impact on mine. Steven Goldenberg, Class of 1974
March 23, 2021
We were privileged to have known and to have spent some very interesting and enjoyable hours with Ernie many years ago. Ernie’s life was indeed a life well spent. Our sincere condolences to Betty and his family.
March 23, 2021
To Ann and family,
Please accept my sincere condolences. The obituary for your father in today’s Daily Star told me so much that I never knew about his fascinating life. I will always remember you as one of my good friends at Bugbee. And I do remember him as a very kind and cordial man. I hope Passover this year will be a joyous time for you and your family to gather and share loving memories.