William Reid Goodnough
Another one of those remarkable, rebellious Aspen pioneers of the 1950’s left us on the morning of July 10th, 2017, in Sarasota, Florida, stranded at last by health problems that left him unable to return for the first time in all these years to the Roaring Fork Valley, the place he called home.
William Reid Goodnough was born on November 17th, 1922, to Stephen and Ruth Goodnough in Pittsburgh, PA. A graduate of Randolph Macon Military school in Virginia, he was attending Alleghany College when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. He immediately enlisted on December 10th, 1941 into the Army Air Corp, eventually being discharged on February 15th, 1946.
For a time Bill settled into the comfortable, predictable life that his family and friends led in Pittsburgh but then fate and his adventurous soul intervened. He and his younger brother Steve, an oil geologist with one of the leading US oil companies, decided to jump off the track and go prospecting for uranium in the west. Living in the back of a station wagon, they feasted on canned Campbell’s soups and what they could shoot for dinner.
Tired of freezing in the desert cold, they decided to take a short vacation in the growing ski resort of Aspen. And that was that for Bill. He always said that discovering Aspen was the greatest break of his life.
He never doubted Aspen’s future success even in 1955 and a true Scotsman, he had always set aside savings. Starting with three little cottages, he ended up owning and operating The Snowflake Lodge, now the Limelight Lodge, owned by the Aspen Skiing Company. He was a member of that illustrious group of small lodge owners who were at the heart of Aspen’s success in its beginning including Ralph Melville, Pete Stone, Dale Paas, Jack dePagter, and Charley Patterson.
Bill lived the famed Aspen life in its entirety. He did it all. Taught skiing under Fred Islin. Never missed a deep powder day. Competed in jumping on his favorite horse Rowdy. Rode in the Hunt at Strang’s. Raced sailboats at Ruedi. Hunted Elk in the back country.
In his retirement years, he and his wife Ernie, did long cruises on the Intracoastal Waterway, from Florida to Cape Cod, returning to Aspen for skiing in the winter, golf, music and friends in the summer and fall.
An eternal optimist and a fighter to the end, Bill said age was but a number. Finally the numbers caught up with him but what a great ride he had in a beautiful place, in a special time, with kindred spirits.
Bill is survived by his wife Ernestine Ashley Goodnough, son Gordon Goodnough (Jean), daughter Gail Miller (Gary) and stepdaughter Leigh Thurber Hitz, (Jim) , four grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife Vivian Vacquier Goodnough and his brother Stephen Goodnough.
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