Dr. Roy, a proud Canadian
Celebrating the life of long-serving Harbour Grace dentist Leroy Goodwin
Dr. W. LeRoy Goodwin — who is fondly known as Dr. Roy — of Harbour Grace had practiced dentistry in the town for 66 years, long after many would have put down their dental drills.
At 96 years of age, Dr. Roy was still an icon in the town of some 3,200 residents.
He passed away Sept. 13 surrounded by family at his home, but the spirit, dedication and passion he had for his profession, the organizations he volunteered with and his country will live on.
Dr. Roy was not your typical dentist. In fact, he often made house calls throughout his career.
Donald Goodwin, Dr. Roy’s son who resides in Germany, remembers when he used to take him along to the occasional call.
Don explains that he used to tag along for company, or sometimes just out of sheer boredom. He would play outside while his father tended to his patients.
Another memory that Don and his brother Ian remember is how their father used to get emergency calls at home.
“The phone would ring late at night and dad would go to work,” Ian says, noting it didn’t matter who was on the other end of the call, he would make sure he was available.
Ian stopped him from taking after-hour calls in the later years of his career.
Dr. Roy was very dedicated to his busy life, spending much of his time at his practice or at meetings for one of the dozens of organizations he was part of.
Dr. Roy had a large number of activities that he took part in, but most notably was his bridge games.
The brothers say card players would stay until the “wee hours” of the morning.
“One of his regular bridge buddies was ( former Newfoundland Premier) Frank Moores,” Don exclaimed.
Moores was from Carbonear and would regularly visit his friend. They always kept in touch.
Longtime friend and colleague Dr. James Darcy confirmed his love for bridge in Dr. Roy’s eulogy. He emailed a copy to The Compass.
“When I told him I was playing duplicate bridge, he made it possible for the two of us to become a team and compete in tournaments,” Darcy wrote.
Dr. Roy would also enjoy visitors who would just stop by. His sons say he could not cook at all, but made it up to his guests by making them an exceptional cup of tea.
Not much of a traveller
One of his other passions was socializing with his dental colleagues and former classmates of the University of Toronto.
“I’m sure he only travelled to be social,” Don says, noting his father was not one for vacationing.
Dr. Roy did do a bit of travelling for work, to take courses, for reunions and for conferences. He flew to Toronto, Vancouver and San Diego, but never took the time to appreciate the cities, the sons recall. He was happy as long as he was interacting.
Dr. Roy travelled to Europe in 2003 for the first time.
Although he was supposed to be on vacation, Dr. Roy did not see many of the sights in any of the countries he visited. He would rather visit places that were connected to his volunteer activities, including the masonic lodge.
“He went to a mason meeting in Edinburgh (Grand Lodge),” son-in-law Vernon Whetter explains.
“When he went through Cologne (Germany) on the train, he looked out the window and saw the Cologne Cathedral,” Don says. “That was the extent of it.”
One thing that Dr. Roy was very passionate about was his love for Canada. He was born before Newfoundland joined Confederation but his parents were born in Canada.
Joey Smallwood was a close friend of Dr. Roy. They were both pro-Confederates and were always in contact.
“There was a boat coming into Harbour Grace and dad received a call from (Smallwood),” Don says. “He had to go down to the harbour and talk with the seamen about joining Canada.”
Although Dr. Roy was a Canadian patriot, he also loved his home province.
“Someone at the funeral said he loved every rock in Newfoundland, and he did,” Don explains.
Dr. Roy had so many accomplishments family and friends could not name them all, but they did highlight a few important ones in his obituary.
He was a lifelong member of the Canadian Dental Association, former board member for Carbonear General Hospital, volunteered with the Canadian Red Cross and was a member of the Navy League of Canada.
Dr. Roy was also very committed to his hometown, joining the Harbour Grace regatta committee, the Harbour Grace stadium committee and worked at his own dental practice in the town for 66 years.
Harbour Grace has lost a strong and prominent member of the town, but family and friends say he will not soon be forgotten.
Dr. W. LeRoy Goodwin — known by most as Dr. Roy — passed away Sept. 13 but has left behind sme fond memories to those he has touched throughout his 96 years.