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Longtime Titan Supporter Jerry Goodwin Dies at 90

Aug. 29, 2012

On the morning of Aug. 28, Cal State Fullerton lost a longtime friend, Jerry Goodwin. He was 90.

A generous donor and Titan booster, Jerry and his wife, Merilyn, provided the lead gift of $1 million for the expansion of Titan Field into Goodwin Field, which made it possible for CSUF to host 10 NCAA Baseball Regional and eight Super Regional tournaments since 2000. Prior to that year, the players had to travel for each of their previous 21 postseason tournament appearances.

“I love baseball; I love sports; and I love Cal State Fullerton Titans,” Goodwin says in a short video about the couple’s connection to the campus and his life’s journey from humble beginnings.

“We’d just like to be remembered as plain, ordinary, nice people who love the school and who love the kids,” the Goodwins said when honored at the university’s inaugural Legends & Legacies in 2007, an event designed to honor benefactors who have donated $100,000 or more to the university.

Of their commitment to Titan baseball, reflected in the naming of Goodwin Field, Goodwin said: “Baseball enables a lot of young men to be able to go to college.” Added Merilyn, “We hope that every time they go out there, they’ll plan on having a good win.”

According to his daughter, Nanette, Goodwin had a knack for remembering names and faces. He’s well-known on campus and elsewhere as the man who would say, “Be nice.” (Or “stay nice,” depending on the situation.)

Goodwin was an emeritus member of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Board of Governors.

A successful string of automobile dealerships funded the Goodwins’ philanthropy, which materialized in several other areas on campus. In 1988, Jerry initiated the annual Jerry Goodwin CSUF Alumni Association Golf Tournament to benefit student scholarships and alumni programs. The couple also gave generous gifts to the arts and established the Goodwin Musical Theatre Scholarship.

Goodwin received an honorary doctorate from CSUF in 1994. That same year, he was made an honorary alumnus and recognized at the inaugural Vision & Visionaries gala. The Goodwins were named Outstanding Philanthropist Honorees in 2000 at the Orange County National Philanthropy Day Celebration for their philanthropic involvement and leadership at Cal State Fullerton. Both were inducted into the Titan Hall of Fame in 2011.

Goodwin is survived by his wife of 68 years, Merilyn; son David Paul Goodwin; daughter Nanette Zastrow; 18 grandchildren; and 40 great-grandchildren. A son, Ronald, and a daughter, Sandra, preceded him in death.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 72960 Parkview Dr., Palm Desert. The family has suggested that those who want to honor Goodwin may do so by sending flowers or donating to an organization or charity of their choice in his name.

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