Ed­win Good­man: war hero, phi­lan­thropist and all around nice guy

The Canadian Jewish News (Toronto) - - News - — ABI­GAIL CUKIER

De­spite his enor­mous pro­fes­sional success and in­flu­ence on many Cana­dian in­sti­tu­tions, it’s the sim­pler things that friends re­mem­ber about Ed­win Good­man.

“He was in­cred­i­bly warm and friendly, with a great sense of hu­mour,” says Herb Sol­way, a long­time friend and a re­tired part­ner in his law firm, Good­mans LLP. “The best thing about him at the law firm, of all the good things about him, was he in­sisted ev­ery lawyer treat their staff, the sec­re­taries and law clerks, the best way pos­si­ble. Everyone called him by his first name. And they loved him.”

Good­man was born in 1918 to David and Dorothy Good­man. In World War II, his tank was blown up by Ger­man ar­tillery dur­ing the in­va­sion of France. Wounded, he car­ried an in­jured sol­dier sev­eral miles to safety, while un­der con­stant fire. His brav­ery earned him a men­tion in dis- patches to Al­lied head­quar­ters in Lon­don. Af­ter the war, he joined his fa­ther, David, at the law firm, then called Good­man & Good­man. In the decades that fol­lowed, the firm rep­re­sented a num­ber of pres­ti­gious clients, in­clud­ing Cadil­lac Fairview and La­batt.

A mem­ber of the Or­der of Canada, Good­man’s impact is wide­spread, in­clud­ing rais­ing mil­lions of dol­lars for the Na­tional Bal­let of Canada, Boy Scouts and Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal.

Af­ter the Toronto Tele­gram news­pa­per went out of business in 1971, Good­man was the first out­side in­vestor to con­trib­ute to ef­forts to start the Toronto Sun, and then helped raise the rest of the money.

In the 1970s, he chaired the board of the strug­gling Royal On­tario Mu­seum and helped en­sure its con­tin­ued ex­is­tence. He also helped bring a Ma­jor League Base­ball fran­chise to Toronto. Through con­tacts made while do­ing le­gal work for the Mon­treal Ex­pos and Ma­jor League Base­ball, Good­man and Sol­way helped La­batt build the Toronto Blue Jays.

Good­man also served as pres­i­dent of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada for many years and chaired sev­eral of the party’s con­ven­tions. For­mer prime min­is­ter Brian Mul­roney named him to the Se­cu­rity In­tel­li­gence Re­view Com­mit­tee, which over­sees the RCMP and CSIS.

While Bill Davis was premier of On­tario, he and Good­man met for break­fast with a few other politi­cians and busi­ness­peo­ple ev­ery cou­ple of weeks to dis­cuss strat­egy.

“He was a very good friend,” said Davis. “He was help­ful to me dur­ing my time in public life. He was one of those very real hu­man be­ings that you re­gard with af­fec­tion. This may sound like I am going over­board, but you de­velop a large num­ber of friends in the life I’ve led. But you have some very spe­cial ones and he was one.”

Good­man hired Sol­way out of law school in 1955 and they worked to­gether un­til Good­man’s death in 2006.

“We could tell story af­ter story about him. I’ve never met any­one quite like him. You just ad­mired him so much,” Sol­way said. “The minute you met him, you knew him. He was just so warm. He was a wonderful guy.”

Af­ter Good­man’s first mar­riage, he mar­ried Suzanne Gross in 1953, although she passed away in 1992. His daugh­ter Joanne died in a car ac­ci­dent on her way back to uni­ver­sity. Good­man suf­fered from Alzheimer’s dis­ease later in life and died fol­low­ing a heart at­tack in 2006. He was sur­vived by his wife Joan, his daugh­ter Diane and two grand­chil­dren.

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