A man of great honor, courage, and integrity, Lynn Goodrich was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was a man of many gifts and talents, but he was also a humble person who used his abilities to bless others first and foremost. A devoted family man, Lynn took his roles as a husband and father to heart, but there was nothing that blessed him more than welcoming grandchildren and great-grandchildren into the family. He enjoyed traveling and saw so many amazing places, but he genuine loved sharing these experiences with the ones he loved most. Lynn was a talented handyman who seemed to be able to fix anything, and he was proud of the results of his hard work. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that is deeply rooted in unconditional love and unending generosity that will his loved ones will carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s were greatly defined by the Great Depression that brought trials to nearly every American family across the country. Amidst this trying time was the year 1932 when Donald C. and Goldie B. (Adair) Goodrich were focused on a joyous time in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Lynn Devon on Saturday, April 9, 1932. Born in Washington Township of Noble County, Indiana, he was raised on the family farm alongside his sisters, Aileen, Billie, Ellen, Shirley, and brothers, Phil and Hale. Later, Lynn built his own home on the corner of this very same farm.
Right from the start Lynn was a bustle of activity. Living on their farm mean that he helped with farm chores as they had peppermint, corn, beans, and dairy cows. Lynn also helped with the family’s steam engine driven saw mill. He could often be found listening to “The Lone Ranger” on the radio out in the barn as they milked cows every day. He did make time to hunt and trap along with participating in 4-H. Even as a boy he always seemed to be tearing something apart, teaching himself how things work and putting them back together. Lynn ran track while attending Wolf Lake High School, graduating in 1952.
That same year, Lynn was drafted and served in the United States Army in Korea during the Korean Conflict. He and a fellow soldier carried the last soldier killed off the fields as they announced the cease fire. In November of 1954, Lynn was honorably discharged and transferred to the Army Reserves to complete eight years of service under the Universal Military Training & Service Act.
With a lifelong love for cars, Lynn was out cruising around Ligonier in his Hudson Hornet when a young lady caught his eye. Her name was Marlene E. Duesler, and she was a nursing student at the time in South Bend. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. Once she graduated from nursing school in 1956, Lynn and Marlene moved ahead with marriage plans and exchanged their vows on February 24, 1957, at Evangelical United Brethren Church in Ligonier. Together he and his wife would welcome five girls including Pamela, Karen, Ann, Jeané, and Gayle into their hearts and homes. The newlyweds moved to Columbia City for a brief time when Lynn was working at LML Grain Elevator in Columbia City. After a few years, he found a job in the construction and excavating industry for Leininger. The Goodrich family moved to Tri-Lakes and since he was working excavating, he used some of the equipment to move and mound up dirt on the corner lot of his family’s farm, eventually building the house Lynn called home for the rest of his life. He made one last career move when he stared working as a heavy equipment operator for Bercot Gibson on Jan. 6, 1964. He started in at $2.60 an hour, and by 1975, Lynn became the head diesel mechanic until retiring on March 31, 1995.
There was never anything of greater significance to Lynn than his family. When his daughters were younger they enjoyed fishing together at King Fisher Resort in Wisconsin for a week every year with Lynn’s parents as this was a place Lynn had been going since he was a young boy. He and his family later started camping, traveled out East to visit the historic Civil War sites, and cave spelunking. Even though Marlene never traveled too far in, Lynn’s girls were right by his side.
As the kids got older and moved out of the house, Lynn and Marlene continued traveling. They eventually purchased a time share that gave them options all over the United States to visit. Lynn and Marlene even visited the gardens in the Netherlands while the tulips were in full bloom. They also made it to Belgium and part of Germany to see some World War II sites. Canada and Hawaii were also among the destinations that Lynn and Marlene made it to.
Closer to home, Lynn was always busy. He was actively involved in his community including as a member of the Sparta United Church of Christ, Wolf Lake VFW, Operating Engineers Union Local 103, and Etna Methodist Church Men’s Fellowship – a group of friends he had coffee with each week for the past 20 years. Lynn served on the board for Merry Lea Environmental Center from the seventies into the early eighties. He loved gardening and had a special place in his heart for animals and often took in animals in need of a home. Lynn once received a flying squirrel he named Squeaky that he carried around in the pocket of his overalls that was filled with nuts. He also had fox squirrels, dogs, and always had a cat around, too. As a jack of all trades and an amazing mechanic, Lynn purchased a 1948 Champion Studebaker that was in sorry shape and fully restored it over several years. However, his pride Studebaker was his 1958 Silver Hawk Studebaker. He loved getting his black leather jacket on and driving around in it. Lynn even found time to raise bees and sold his honey under his private label, “Good N Rich Honey.”
It was easy to see that Lynn Goodrich was a man who was deeply devoted to his family, his work, and his community. He worked hard and never took the easy way out with a thirst for learning and doing new things. With a zest for life that was truly contagious, Lynn will be deeply missed while his memory is forever cherished.
Lynn D. Goodrich, 83, of Kimmell, passed away Saturday afternoon, April 2, 2016. Lynn’s family includes his loving wife of 59 years, Marlene Goodrich; daughters: Pam (Jim) Young of Fort Wayne; Karen (Jim) Walters of Paw Paw, Mich.; Ann (Ron) Rider of Columbia City; Jeané (Mark) Sherburn of Cromwell; and Gayle (Jeff Burdek) Goodrich of Fort Wayne; sisters: Ellen Metzger of Angola and Shirley (Jim) Coy of Topeka; 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Lynn was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Aileen Hill and Billie Schuman; and brothers, Phil and Hale Goodrich.
Visitation is Wednesday, April 6, from 4-8 p.m. at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Sparta United Church of Christ, 2584 N US Hwy 33, Kimmell with calling one hour prior. Pastor Wray McCalester will officiate. Burial will follow at Sparta Cemetery with military honors rendered by the Whitley County Korean War Veteran’s Honor Guard.
Memorials may be made in his memory to Merry Lea Environmental Center or Sparta United Church of Christ.