Vivian Goodwin, community volunteer, dies at 72
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Sunday, September 23, 2012
9/23/12 at 5:41 AM
Vivian Palm would always have Paris - as a back-up plan, at least.
Deciding that her girlhood dream of studying French at the Sorbonne could wait, the Tulsan followed through on a more promising offer: marrying childhood crush James Goodwin and raising a family.
The couple, who had grown up as next-door neighbors in north Tulsa, had both left town for South Bend, Ind., she to attend St. Mary's College, he the University of Notre Dame.
There, their romance had kindled. In 1961, they got married.
With her husband going on to prominence as a Tulsa attorney, newspaper publisher and advocate for the city's black community, Vivian would take great pride in supporting him in his work and raising their five children.
"She was just an excellent, devoted mother, I can't say that enough," said James Goodwin, co-publisher of the Oklahoma Eagle, of his wife. "She often told our children that she had a Ph.D. in motherhood."
Vivian Edwina Palm Goodwin died Sept. 18. She was 72.
A Rosary is set for 7 p.m. Sunday with a funeral Mass to follow at 1:30 p.m. Monday, both at Holy Family Cathedral. Dillon & Smith Funeral Home of Sand Springs is in charge of arrangements.
Born in Columbia, S.C., Goodwin was the daughter of an Air Force doctor.
Moving around frequently, the family eventually settled in Tulsa, where her father, Dr. Irvin Palm Sr., opened a practice.
James Goodwin was 6 years old when Vivian's family moved in next door to him on Haskell Street.
Among his earliest memories of her is how she used to walk with his sister and him to school at Booker T. Washington Elementary.
Although she later confessed that she had always had a crush on him, they didn't start dating until several years later.
It was after James had gone on to Notre Dame. His alma mater, Booker T. Washington High School, invited him back to give a speech, and afterward, Vivian, who had been a National Merit Scholar at Booker T. Washington, came up to say hello to her old neighbor and to inquire about St. Mary's.
That meeting would lead to her attending the college, and while there, she and James began dating.
After they married and James' career began to take off, Vivian would be there to help.
She often assisted at the newspaper, he said, writing stories, taking pictures, setting type or anything else that needed doing.
James said his wife had a love for learning.
She continued to build on her education, taking classes at Tulsa Community College.
Goodwin was active with the Tulsa chapters of the Links Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, The Charms, Tulsa Philharmonic and other civic and social groups.
A member of Holy Family Catholic Church, she also attended In the Spirit Christian, St. Monica and St. Augustine Catholic churches.
As it turned out, Goodwin would never need her Paris back-up plan. But she had no regrets, she told family members.
As a grandmother, the idea of flying across an ocean had not only lost its appeal, but also was a little terrifying, she would laugh.
Vivian Goodwin's survivors include her husband of 50 years, James O. Goodwin; five children, Jerry Goodwin, David Goodwin, Joseph Goodwin, Anna Benn and Jeanne Goodwin; six grandchildren; a brother, Irvin Palm Jr., and a sister, Marilyn Dorsey.
Original Print Headline: Community volunteer had life full of love
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Vivian Goodwin: "She was just an excellent, devoted mother, I can't say that enough," said James Goodwin, her husband of 50 years. "She often told our children that she had a Ph.D. in motherhood."