John Gale Goddard, 79 Oceanography pioneer, world traveler, volunteer

In Memoriam

John Gale Goddard, 79

Oceanography pioneer, world traveler, volunteer

John G. Goddard

Cooperstown – John Gale Goddard, former resident of Cooperstown passed away May 6, 2021, in Nyack, NY. He was 79.

John was born in Cooperstown to Arthur John Goddard and Ramona Gale Goddard and graduate from Cooperstown Central School in 1960. He earned a B.A. in chemistry from Harpur College (now SUNY Binghamton) in 1965 and a M.S. in Geology from CUNY Queens College in 1969.

John was an expert in the measurement of carbon dioxide in sea water. He joined the staff at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory in Palisades, NY in August 1965 and supported that research enterprise until 2019; he also taught oceanography at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the 1980s. He sailed on more than 20 oceanographic expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans and traveled to all seven continents. His efforts contributed to better understanding of global climate change, biogeochemical cycling, ocean circulation, ocean-atmosphere interaction, and earthquake prediction. The quality and importance of his contribution to the collective scientific accomplishments of LDEO is recognized.

John believed in civic engagement, big and small. In 1969 in Piermont, John and two friends collected newspapers for recycling and supported local environmental preservation with the proceeds. After moving to Nyack in 1971, he became active in the Friends of the Nyacks, the Nyack Co-op Market, the YMCA, and the Nyack Recreation Department. He was a member and then chair of the Nyack Zoning Board of Appeals. He served several roles at the First Reformed Church, volunteered with the Soup Angels, and at the Nyack Center Breakfast Club where he was a favorite picture-book reader and double-dutch turner. After retirement John spent a lot of time in the Adirondacks. There he was a brakeman on the Upper Hudson River Scenic Railroad, active member of Trout Unlimited, a board member and treasurer of the Tannery Pond Community Center, volunteer driver of the North Creek Business Alliance shuttle bus, member of Protect the Adirondacks and the Garnet Hill Homeowners Association where he monitored water quality and loon population.

John loved listening to live and recorded music of all kinds. He found joy in many pursuits: photography and printing, pewtersmithing, beer-making, silkscreen-printing, fly-tying, canoe-building, camping and hiking, cooking, and especially golf. He was a do-it-yourselfer; he could sweat any joint, wire any circuit, and fix any engine. He loved to solve crossword puzzles.

John had a giant and generous spirit—he was kind, thoughtful, deliberate, honest and ethical, even when no one was looking. He believed in showing up, driving blue highways, following rivers, and getting the job done. John traveled the world but said his favorite port of call was home.

John is survived by his wife of 52 years Mary (nee Conklin), his son Ethan (Dawn), daughter Rachel (John), grandchildren Hudson, Fiona, Eamon, Ilene, Calder, sister Sally, sister-in-law Carol (Bill), and nieces and nephews Douglas, P. J., Jeanne, Peter, Sally, Cyndy, and their partners.

Memorial services are planned for 11 a.m. on June 12 at the First Reformed Church of Nyack NY, and June 26 at the Garnet Hill Lodge in North River, NY.

Memorial Contributions: John supported the work of these organizations: Soup Angels of Nyack – P.O. Box 565, Nyack, NY 10960 ( Protect the Adirondacks – PO Box 48, North Creek, NY 12853 (

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