Cover photo for Joel Martin Goodman's Obituary
Joel Martin Goodman Profile Photo
1950 Joel 2021

Joel Martin Goodman

August 24, 1950 — January 27, 2021

Joel M. Goodman of Leicester, Massachusetts died on January 27 at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester after a battle with Covid-19. He was 70 years old.

Joel was born in 1950 in Medford, MA, the youngest child of Monty and Anna (Keller) Goodman. He graduated from The English High School in Boston in 1968, where his yearbook entry noted his love for folk music. After studying at UMass Amherst for a time, he pursued a variety of occupations before eventually settling into a career as a technician in the optics industry. He was also active in civil rights causes, especially during his early adult years.

A signal event of Joel's life was his conversion to Christianity in 1976. His love for God shaped his entire life thereafter, both spiritually and practically. It was within the context of his church community that mutual friends introduced him to Jessica Sherman. He and Jessica married on October 3, 1981. They had three children: Shomriel, Sam, and Aliza.

Joel went back to school, completing his bachelor's degree at UMass Amherst in 1992. In 2003, furthering his love for biblical study and the teaching of God's Word, Joel earned a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He continually sought to grow in his faith and served as an associate minister and teacher at his church.

Grief touched the Goodman family with Jessica's death on June 11, 2009. Joel lived as a widower for nearly ten years, investing in the lives of his children and grandchildren, and in his church.

In 2018 he met Deborah Roberg, herself a widow. He and Deborah married on July 20, 2019. Having retired earlier that year, Joel set up a woodworking shop in the basement of their new home in Leicester to pursue his long-held dream of becoming a banjo-maker.

Joel's family will remember him as a kind and generous man with a dry sense of humor and a ready laugh (especially at his own jokes). He delighted in finding the very best solution to a problem, whether it involved banjo construction or the fine details of his morning coffee ritual. Yet he was generous with his time and attention to those around him, and despite his advanced learning he was quicker to listen than to speak.

Joel is survived by his wife Deborah; his three children: Shomriel Sherman of Leicester, Sam Goodman and his wife Alana of Millis, MA, and Aliza Kennedy and her husband Sean of Auburn, MA; six grandchildren: Maia Mitchell (11), Abigail Pietros (9), Killian Kennedy (3), Max Kennedy (6 weeks), Jacob Goodman (4), and Caleb Goodman (3); three stepchildren: Brian Roberg and his wife Carin of State College, PA, Kevin Roberg of Cheshire, CT, and Kristen Crawford and her husband Jeremy of Redondo Beach, CA; five step-grandchildren: Patrick Roberg (15), Martin Roberg (15), Ella Roberg (10), Annie Roberg (8), and Lillian Roberg (6). He also leaves four siblings, Barbara Feldstein of Ashland, MA, Sandra Goodman of Randolph, MA, Joan Rothman of Randolph, MA, and Sumner Goodman and his wife Grace of Loudenville, NY.

Burial will take place at Pine Hill Cemetery in Peterborough, NH, accompanied by a private graveside service. The family intends to hold a public memorial service once it is safe to gather people together in person. Donations may be made in memory of Joel to support the Gordon-Conwell Scholarship Fund by visiting
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