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John Leslie Goodwin, 66, of Tonganoxie, KS and formerly Ft. Smith Arkansas, passed away on Friday November 3rd, 2023 at KU Medical Center after a short, but valiant battle with metastatic bladder cancer. He left this earth while listening to a Mozart French Horn Concerto with his wife Erica at his side and holding his hand.
John was born on December 8th, 1956 in Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Leslie and Bernice (Perry) Goodwin. After graduating from high school; John attended Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR on a music scholarship with the original intention of becoming a middle school band director. He pursued music in college and pursued computers with an equal diligence. During his senior year Henderson State was granted the authority is confer a degree in Computer Science and John was the first person to receive this degree at Henderson State. John built his first computer from “scratch”, not a kit – in 1975. He programmed pong to the amazement of all his friends, John held many IT Engineer positions over the years including many years at Golden Living where he met many of his life-long friends. Most recently John was employed at Garmin International in Olathe, KS.
John’s witty sense of humor and ability to always come up with the right pun made him an instant friend to everyone who crossed his path. His wife Erica could not go into any business in Tonganoxie without someone stopping her to ask ‘How’s John?’ Even during something like a trip to the dentist, every single dental hygienist would stop what they were doing to make sure they stopped by to say hi to John while he was getting his teeth cleaned. When not dropping a joke or a pun, he would be throwing out a song lyric that was (not always) related to the situation at hand. Right up to his final days you could not hand him a glass of water without him breaking out his best imitation of Marty Robbins singing ‘Cool Water’. If someone told John that he was a ‘Good Man’ he would quickly correct them and tell them ‘No, that’s ‘Good-Win’. Another favorite line of his was to say that ‘something was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick because he already tried that’. (Referencing the injury to his eye that he sustained as a child).
John always seemed to be smartest man in the room but he was humble and would downplay his knowledge of so many vast and esoteric subjects. He could carry on an educated conversation about just about any topic and people would pause the conversation to ask him what he did for a living because he always seemed to know so much about whatever topic was being discussed.
John obtained his HAM radio license as a teenager and maintained that hobby throughout his life. He enjoyed building his vast collection of vintage HAM equipment. He had the knowledge and skills to do the electrical work to bring vintage equipment back to life. If mankind was ever struck by a Zombie Apocalypse or an Electromagnetic Pulse then John’s abilities would have helped to save the world. He had the ability listen to morse code and translate on the fly.
John was a life-long musician and played the French Horn with many bands and orchestras over the years. He began his band career in 9th grade with the cornet. That summer he learned the French Horn. His senior year he was second in the state by hundredths of a point. Most recently he was a member of the Benedictine College/Atchison Community Orchestra, the Kansas City Horn Club and the North Star Community Band. John met his wife Erica in the North Star Band after he eventually won her over with his kind heart and witty personality. Erica liked to say that ‘John was the enzyme to her substrate’.
John and Erica loved to travel, especially to national parks. John was an avid photographer and enjoyed combining this hobby while as a passenger on cross-country motorcycle with Erica. He preferred to ride as a passenger so that he could sight see and take photographs while riding. Always ready to crack a joke; he especially enjoyed it when someone would question his manhood because he was riding as a passenger with his wife operating the motorcycle. His favorite comeback to this was a rather politically incorrect reply where he would tell them that ‘they should see him in his fishnet stockings and that he was secure enough in his manhood to ride bitch’.
Prior to his current marriage; John was married for many years to Kerry Keener of Ft. Smith, AR and he is survived by Kerry and their 2 children, Zoe Goodwin of Ft. Smith, AR and Emily Goodwin of Ravensburg, Germany. John is also survived by his sister Julia Hudson of Little Rock, AR. John will be missed by everyone who knew him but especially by his wife Erica (Hawes) and his step-son Stanley Brinkmeyer.
John asked that he be cremated and for his ashes to be combined with those of his favorite cat, Sebastian, and then spread at the various sites that Erica and John have travelled to and sites that were planned for future travel. No services are planned at this time as most of John’s friends and family are out of state. A celebration of life will be planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John’s name to the North Star Community Band c/o Teresa Farley 7327 N Olive St, Gladstone, MO 64118.