Bruce W. Goodwin, 71, Defiance, Ohio, died Monday, September 14, 2020, while surrounded by his loving family. He had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2015 and after many good days and excellent care, he ultimately succumbed to complications from the disease.
Bruce was born on September 8, 1949, to Roger and Ruby (Miller) Goodwin in Defiance, Ohio. He graduated from Ayersville High School in 1967 and received a full basketball scholarship to Findlay College. An injury his freshman year meant the loss of his scholarship, and he ultimately transferred to and graduated from Defiance College with a degree in English. He earned an M.A. from St. Francis College and did graduate work at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.
On August 8, 1969, he married Marlene (Thieroff) Goodwin at St. Stephen Lutheran Church. They later built a house on land her parents split from their farm, raised two daughters, and lived there together until his death. In their 51 years together, Bruce and Marlene traveled the country. Throughout their many vacations, some involving very long road trips with various family members in tow, Bruce and Marlene visited all 50 states, concluding with Hawaii in 2010. His daughters cherish these adventures and count themselves fortunate to have had such meaningful experiences as a family.
Bruce spent his life in service to others as an educator, coach, guidance counselor, and administrator — at Defiance City Schools, Ayersville High School and Four County Career Center — and after retirement as a Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, representing District 74 for three terms (2007 through 2012).
A natural athlete and mentor, Bruce coached baseball, football and basketball in the local area and taught various subjects including English, drama and speech, while motivating many generations of young athletes and students to pursue and achieve their dreams. Later in life, Bruce took up golf and found it was a game that he truly loved and enjoyed playing with his friends, almost as much as he had enjoyed playing the team sports of his youth. Bruce had a sweet tooth and intense love of anything chocolate, which anyone who met him soon discovered. When they were little, the grandkids nicknamed him Grandpa Chocolate.
As a state representative, he worked tirelessly for his district. When the funding for the U.S. Route 24 improvement project was in jeopardy, he helped orchestrate a key coalition that ensured the project would move forward. He laid the groundwork for home-schooled children to participate in their local school’s activities and advocated for veterans at every turn. After retiring from public service, he achieved another life-long goal by writing and publishing a novel.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Marlene; daughters, Julia Goodwin and Melinda (Daniel) Schall; grandchildren, Nathaniel Schall and Melanie Schall; siblings, Rogette (Dwight) Hector and Randall (Dawn) Goodwin; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.
He was a member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, the Farm Bureau, numerous professional organizations, and a social member of the VFW.
Visitation and funeral services will be held on Friday, September 18, at St. Stephen Lutheran Church Defiance. Visitation hours are 1-3 p.m. with the celebration of Bruce’s life to follow at 3 p.m., with Reverend William Stottlemyer officiating. Burial at St. Stephen Cemetery immediately follows. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, visitation and funeral services will be limited to family and a few invited friends. Those paying their respects must wear masks to attend the visitation or services. Please also maintain social distancing and make use of the Schaffer Funeral Home website to contact the family if you are not feeling well. Schaffer Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
Preferred memorials should be directed to St. Stephen Lutheran Church or CHP Defiance Hospice Center. Online condolences can be given at www.Schafferfh.com.