Sunday night when we heard the EMT radio in the hallway, we knew it was probably the worst. For the past four plus years, we’ve lived across the hall from brothers Irwin and Robert Goodman. The former owners the iconic downtown Goodman’s Jeweler’s, they’re also famous in Madison for donating over $10 million (that is known, anyway) to public causes. This includes $2.8 million for Madison’s community pool, $2 million for the Atwood (now Goodman) Community Center, the UW softball stadium, and the 154 acres that houses the Madison Jewish Community Council. This is just a small sample of what they’ve given the local community in their name – it’s estimated they’ve given much more anonymously.
Irwin Goodman died Sunday night at the age of 94. Through their generosity Irwin and his brother have positively affected hundreds of thousands of lives in our community. More importantly to me, Irwin was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known. If you ever need a self-esteem boost, I recommend you live across the hall from a pair of elderly bachelor brothers. Four or five times a week I’d see the boys, and they were so full of life and compliments – flirts with huge smiles and unlimited joy.
The Goodman brothers didn’t live a fancy life – you’d never know they were multi-millionaires. But Irwin had, and his brother still has, hearts of solid gold. I am so blessed to have known Irwin and Robert, and while the rest of Madison is so lucky to receive their gifts, I am the luckiest one because I got their smiles.