casual observer might have thought Herbert H. Goodman was homeless. He dressed in thrift store finds, lived at the Bremerton YMCA and biked to his food service job at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. His greatest luxuries were an adding machine and a black-and-white television set.
But behind that frugal exterior was a seasoned investor, who began amassing a $3-million fortune as a teenager by purchasing stock in companies like Coca-Cola and General Motors. When he died in 1998 at age 90, he left half of his estate to Olympic College for scholarships.
“He was the little guy on the bike with no teeth who came in for free cookies,” said Ivaly Alexander, a former Olympic College Foundation board member who got to know Goodman when she worked at Seafirst Bank.
“He did something important. He did something lasting. And he never wanted recognition except a, ‘Hi, Herbie.’ He was a nameless, faceless older man, but what he did for our community was huge.”
“He thought it was so unique and so cool that our town had a community college, a college that anybody could get into, anybody could go to and better themselves.”
The first scholarships from the Herbert H. Goodman Memorial Scholarship Fund were awarded to 14 students in 1999. Since then Goodman scholarship funds for students in professional-technical programs and nursing have been created and more than 350 students have benefited.
Ryan Burton ’12 was ecstatic to be a recipient. “While I was attending OC, I was actually working three jobs. Getting a Herbert H. Goodman scholarship helped me be able to focus more on school and be able to pay for my school and actually finish without having any student loans.”
Charlyn Garcia ’13, who works for T-Mobile doing diversity sourcing, is also grateful for Goodman’s generosity. “I wouldn’t have been able to complete my education if it weren’t for the scholarship. It really supported me in being where I am today.”
“I just think he would be so proud,” said Alexander, who described Goodman as “a funny, happy, gracious character” who was curious about people and valued education.
“He thought it was so unique and so cool that our town had a community college, a college that anybody could get into, anybody could go to and better themselves.
“He would just be proud of people going onto that next level, being independent and getting an education and being able to own the future.”