By Rick Francis
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Goodman died on Saturday,November 30, 2002 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, after several months of slowly declining health.He was 81, and had just celebrated a birthday on November 7th.
At the beginning of the service, Tim Parton played piano softly as the Homecoming Friends choir assembled in the choir loft.Rev. Amos Dodge shared a few opening remarks, reading from John 14 and opening with a prayer.Then Janet Paschal sang "Another Soldier's Coming Home."
After Janet Paschal, Rick Goodman came to the podium and spoke on behalf of the Goodman family, commenting that Paschal was one of Howard's "all-time" favorite singers.Rick thanked all the Homecoming Friends and everyone in the crowd for coming to the service.He also shared a few stories about his dad's early years in the ministry.
Most of the music was provided by the Homecoming Friends choir, led by Bill Gaither and accompanied by Tim Parton on piano, Kevin Williams on bass, and Aaron Minick on drums.The choir sang some favorite hymns, including Unclouded Day, Joy, Joy, Unspeakable Joy, and When All God's Children Get Home.They also sang some Goodman classics such as "He Pilots My Ship," "I Don't Regret A Mile,"(featuring a recitation from Gloria Gaither), and "The Sweetest Song I Know," with Johnny Minick singing Howard's part.
Tributes were given by Rev. L.H. Hardwick (pastor of Christ Church), Rev. Marvin Gorman (long-time family friend) and Rev. Johnny Minick, who also sang a song he wrote as a tribute to Howard called "Faithful Man."
Rev. Amos Dodge delivered the message, sharing that Howard Goodman had left a legacy of faithfulness, which had already been handed down to three generations during his lifetime.After the message, Buddy Greene played Amazing Grace, accompanied by the Homecoming Friends.
Then a recent video clip was shown featuring Howard at the piano singing "Telling My Blues Good-bye."Howard's joyous rendition of this song brought thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the crowd.
Goodman was laid to rest on the grounds of Christ Church at Christ Church Memorial Gardens.Active Pallbearers included Steve Chandler, Steve Easter, Kris Goodman, Aaron Minick, Marshall Pugh, Jack Smith, Anthony Waltrous and Aaron Wilburn.
Honorary Pallbearers included Ken Abraham, Les Beasley, Eddie Crook, Bill Gaither, Rev. Marvin Gorman, Lari Goss, Wymer Harris, Jake Hess, Bob Johnson, George Jones, Darrick Kinslow, Todd Payne, Sonny Simmons, Ben Speer and Michael Sykes.
Howard Goodman is survived by his wife and singing partner of 53 years, Vestal Goodman; a son, Rick Goodman and wife Dianne of Brentwood, TN; a daughter, Vicki Goodman Meadows and husband Clark of Collinsville, IL;six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.