by C.J. Evans

Forrest R. Goodenough was born July 27, 1918 in South Bend, Ind., and died on August 14, 2004 in Gravette, Ark. He lost his sight at age 5 and grew up during a time when our culture had a limited view of the amazing potential of children who didn't see. He was around people who loved him and believed he could do nearly anything -- which came to include carpentry, digging a basement under an existing house, building a cabin, ice skating, riding a tandem bicycle, cooking, finding his way around New York City, attending Butler University and DePauw University and earning a master's at Eastman School of Music. His earliest musical compositions and performances were in grade school. In 1965 he was ranked 9th of the top 150 American composers by the American Composers Alliance.

In the 1940s he lived in New York City and was the staff pianist at NBC. He also held two other regular jazz piano jobs at the Cotillion Room and the Barbary Room. At that time he met and ran around with George Shearing and Lenny Tristano. In Woodstock, N.Y., he had a year-long sabbatical to live in the Old Maverick House and complete classical compositions. His first wife, Lucia C. Greer, and daughter have fond memories of their arts colony life.

In 1949 he accepted a faculty position at Trinity University in San Antonio, Tex., teaching theory and composition. In 1952 he and Dorothy Churchill Goodenough began 25 years of teaching at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Under their guidance, the music program blossomed to include a string ensemble, an orchestra, band, and numerous award-winning soloists. He and Dorothy Churchill Goodenough were married for nearly 51 years; she died in January 2004.

Forrest Goodenough passed on in Gravette, Ark., while at the Texas School for the Blind, an auditorium full of a few hundred friends, former students, and family celebrated his life and contributions. That auditorium was renamed the Goodenough Performance Hall; a charitable fund was established to benefit future students. He is survived by his daughter, Crow Johnson Evans, and her husband, Dr. Arthur F. Evans; his first wife, Lucia C. Greer; and by his niece by marriage and her husband, Diane Churchill Rautenberg and Norm Rautenberg of New Hampshire.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that charitable donations be sent to: Attention: Goodenough Fund, c/o All Blind Children of Texas, 1100 W. 45th St., Austin, TX 78756. All contributors will receive a DVD of the dedication ceremony and gathering.

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