|Alfred W. Goodyear III (4/8/1928 - 7/23/2011)|
NACAT sends its condolences to the family of former NACAT Executive Manager and Foundation Director Al Goodyear who passed away on July 23, 2011.
The following was written by: Jack Erjavec:
The day after I returned from Winnipeg, I received some sad news. A dear friend of NACAT’s and mine passed away. Al Goodyear, aka Alfred W. Goodyear III, passed away on July 23 in San Diego, due to complications following a hip fracture. He was 83 years old.
Al was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from the Georgia Military Academy and then enrolled at Penn State University where he graduated in 1949 with a B.A. degree in liberal arts.
Al served in the U.S. Army and fought in Korea, where he was awarded the Purple Heart as a sergeant in the Third Division Reconnaissance Company (1951-1952). This is an important bit of information for me, in all of the years I knew Al, he never mentioned what he did in the Army, much less that he received a Purple Heart. This knowledge does nothing else but reinforce the fact that those who were part of a war and suffered, never really talk much about it. The only hint I had about his experiences was the many conversations we would have about military strategies, he knew so much and as former marine and a student of history I was amazed!
Al began his publishing career in as a field representative for Prentice-Hall. He later served as president of Goodyear Publishing Company (a subsidiary of Prentice-Hall). After the Goodyear firm was sold, Al served as Vice President of Sage Publications, Vice-President of education for Mitchell International, and Associate Publisher for Bristlecome Books.
In his so-called retirement, Al was our Executive Manager from 1992 to 2005. When he assumed those duties, we needed a business oriented manager and Al was definitely that. Al did many things for us and was awarded our MVP award in 2003.
Al was an avid tennis player and golfer throughout most of his life; however he had to give up playing tennis and golf, due to health reasons, more than ten years ago. Some NACAT members will remember he played a very competitive game of golf during our conferences. Al also became an active musician after retirement, playing, managing and singing in musical groups that included the Stardust Harmonaires, Big John's Big Sound, and the Bernardo Heights Quartet. He played clarinet as well as alto and tenor saxophone. He also had to give up playing music a few months before his passing.
Al is survived by his wife, Ann (also a very dear friend of mine); his son, Scott; daughters, Sandra Falato and Donna Pekar; and five grandkids.
I met Al in the mid 1980s during a NACAT conference (I honestly forget which one), he introduced himself and asked if I would be interested in writing for his company. At this point in my career, I had completed three books (two training manuals and one textbook). My books were certainly not very successful, so I was struck by the fact he wanted me to write something for Mitchell International. As a result of that introduction I wrote three separate books for Mitchell. When I finished those, Al and I had a long brainstorming session and we created a new type of ASE test prep manuals. The basic design of which has been used by many publishers since we completed that series.
All of this time together resulted in a very warm friendship. In the early 90s, I became discouraged with my lack of success as an author. Al set me down and gave me some very important guidance and encouragement. Without that pep talk, I may have stopped trying to be an author.
Whenever I traveled to the west coast, I always made arrangements to have time with him, Ann, and my Mitchell friends. Rose accompanied me on many of those trips and she too felt Al and Ann were very special people. Al also flew to Columbus to visit, meet my daughters, and have time with us.
I could write a book on what Al meant to me – simply put - Al was a very dear “grumpy” friend of mine for many years. I will miss him. At this point I will present some edited comments from NACAT members who worked closely with Al:
From Dan Perrin
Lynda and I were very saddened to hear of Al Goodyear's passing. I was serving on the NACAT Board when we hired Al and he was by far the superior candidate. He was exactly what we needed; someone that was a competent, no nonsense, manager that knew his job and was not timid about telling you if you did not do yours. Al was able to increase membership from the 500 range to over 800 in a short period of time. From there he was instrumental in several initiatives that brought recognition to NACAT and resources for the members. He served us well for thirteen years and now I am using the things I learned from him to continue in the Job as NACAT Executive Manager. His service to NACAT will continue to support us even though he is no longer physically with us. Thanks Al!
From Fritz Peacock
When Al was selected to be our Executive Manager, the Board had interviewed a number of applicants one of whom wanted NACAT to buy him a motor home in lieu of a salary.
Al was instrumental in the growth of NACAT News during the time I was editor. His handling of the advertisers helped bring income to the organization. His suggestions and mentoring helped me to become a better editor. Al also served as the Executive Manager for the NACAT Foundation.
Some of Al’s Contributions were:
That really isn’t much to say about a friend of 20 plus years. Though I only saw him twice a year, I talked with him on a regular basis when working on NACAT News. Al sometimes came off as grumpy or impatient, but his opinions were well thought out; he was quick to grasp the important parts of a discussion. Al had the ability to analyze problems in depth and bring them in to a discussion/ argument at NACAT Board meetings. He took all of us; the whole NACAT organization, under his wing and mentored us into becoming the professional organization we are today.
From Patrick Brown - Harrison
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Al Goodyear. What stands out for me was my term as the chair for the foundation (back in the day when board members also controlled the foundation).
I remember calling Al “tenacious”. Don’t interpret this as a negative. Al performed his duties as manager the best he could and he would not back down on what he believed. Al often challenged us with a different perspective or opinion, if only to facilitate discussion.
Al and I worked closely together to create scholarships for students and instructors from funds NACAT had received from IMACA. Al was asked to create a template of how the money would be awarded. During the process he was motivated to insure that both students and instructors received the most to insure success.
From Tim Gilles
Jack, I’m bummed. There is a note on my desk telling me to give him a call. He was truly a “dear grumpy friend” and I’m going to miss him.
From Wayne Olson
Al left us all with various feelings and thoughts. He had his gruff ways which didn't sit well with some and he definitely told you his opinion if you liked it or not. Still his heart was in the right place and with some patience you could glean some meaningful advice.
He and I had many conversations at meetings, conferences and on the phone, even a lunch or two half way between us. He always wanted to know how I was doing, especially after I retired. Only after we chatted about a few personal things would he talk about NACAT business.
I am glad I was able to attend his service as a friend and to represent NACAT. It was a small chapel and it was packed! I got the directions messed up so I arrived a minute or two after 11:00am and there was standing room only! The service was a very nice affair, with a military Chaplin doing the program, pictures displayed, and family and friends speaking. Al's musical group did some numbers for us. Some may remember his musical skills, especially a song or two when we got together at a pub. I never got to hear him play an instrument but fortunately I was able to hear his musical group. They were good! And I'm sure Al's skills made them even better.
Lastly I was able to spend a few minutes with Ann and passed along your well wishes and condolences. She was very happy about that. She said I looked familiar and when I told her my name her eyes lit up and said she remembered the cruise to the Alaska conference although she was sick for most of it.
NACAT moved on and prospered after Al left as executive manager and I'm sure he was proud to be a part of NACAT's success.
I will miss him as a friend and supportive colleague.
Jack, thanks again for letting us all know.
From Al Santini
Oh man..... I was wondering about old Al and how he was doing. I knew he had some problems but I did not know it was this bad. A wonderful man who will be missed.
From Celia Hanlon - A former assistant of Al's, now an Independent Agent for Chilton Publishing
Al came to work with automotive teachers after working mostly with college professors in "soft sciences" like economics and sociology. Due to his talents, Prentice Hall gave him his own imprint: Goodyear Publishing. He had an unusual style, I am remembering that he was an original in the MBWA style –“Management by Walking Around”. Though they didn't know Al, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman named and popularized it in their best seller, "In Search of Excellence." Al never had an office at Goodyear Publishing. He would just borrow the desk of an editor who was travelling. Al would walk around the office and talk to everyone and find out what was going on. Al was a doer and he accomplished a lot. He wasn't one for excessive ruminating about a project, he wanted to get it out there (the book, the ideas) and let the readers decide.
Al found a special niche in publishing automotive textbooks. He often said how much he liked working with automotive teachers. It was evident from the many close friends he made through NACAT and ASE. There were so many occasions for him to share his knowledge and help others and for true friendships to form. Not far from the surface, behind that bluster, was a generous and caring soul.
Al loved his wife Anne, his children and grandchildren, playing tennis and golf, and playing the saxophone and clarinet.
I always thought this was written about Al: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
From Dave Koontz - Manager for Chilton Products
Jack: Al Goodyear was my surrogate father, or so I told him after knowing him awhile. He didn’t shy away from the role. While work instigated our meeting, it was play that developed the relationship. In the 1980s, he usually beat me at tennis and golf, using his time-honed talents to negate any wild speed or strength advantage I had. As he slowed down in the 1990s, we played less sports, but continued to play music. He played a brash, brass, tenor saxophone, while I tried to accompany him on acoustic and even electric guitar. Once again, he played to his strengths—big band and jazz standards to my meek folk and rock. As our geographical and musical distances grew, he organized three other jazz musicians into a quartet, continued playing for other jazz aficionados, and became a minor legend in northern San Diego County. Al will always remain my surrogate father and a legendary man to me.
From Terry Blomquist
Jack, we’ve never met, but we have worked for many of the same companies and people. I have known of you since I met Al in 1985. I have a short story about him.
In late 1984 I was promoted to be in charge of a “Top Secret,” project. “Creating a Frame Dimension Manual”for Mitchell. My instructions were: Find a building away from HQ, hire a crew and get some measuring equipment. Oh and by the way, you have a million dollars to work with and we need it by fall 1986.
So I do the basics and we start in Jan. 1985. Much to my surprise two additional people show up at the door when we opened; Alfred Goodyear and Celia McCarty. I didn’t know these people from Abraham. My boss said, “Deal with it, they are creating textbooks and we need a place to put them.”
That first week I thought Al was an old crusty guy who didn’t have a clue. I was full of piss and vinegar and we couldn’t relate. That went away in a few weeks. Al had the office next to me and when he got bored or I got bored we’d pop in on each other and commiserate our fate.
But I must say that Al turned into my mentor. We had many false starts those early months. The dimensioning systems weren’t quite accurate, we hadn’t developed an acceptable format to present the data and we were floundering. For every step forward there were two steps back. It was ugly, until Al in his infinite wisdom who had been watching this told me, “You are on the right track, you’ve got the vision and you care, trust your instincts.”
God Bless him. That was just what I needed, a crusty old guy who had much more experience than I, telling me to “go for it.”
We did and the manuals were fabulously successful. During the summer of 1985 Al would ask me if I wanted to play golf. I’m no golfer, but when Al asked I was sure I would learn something. We played at Oaks North and talked and laughed and he castigated me when I needed it. Then he would say, “Let’s go to my house and have a beer and see Ann.” I was honored to accompany him.
After those years I used run into Al in airports, NACAT conventions or the odd automotive conventions. We were also very close as we knew each other so well, but we respected each other’s individualism and distance.
He was a wonderful old, crusty, grumpy guy who had a heart as big as big as the universe, knowledge of publishing which astonished me, and loved and lived as he saw fit. What could be a better legacy?