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Thomas Ladd Goff

Thomas Ladd Goff

July 12, 1922 - July 10, 2018

Thomas Ladd Goff, 95, passed away peacefully the evening of July 10, 2018 in Ashland, Oregon with family close by.

Tom, the eldest of three boys and one girl, (Murray Clark, Lois Carol, and William Lee) was born July 12, 1922 in Bellingham, Washington to Margaret (Ladd) Goff, a home economics teacher and Clark Thomas Goff, proprietor of Goff’s Department store.

He grew up in the small coastal town of Blaine, Wash. where four generations of the Goff clan still reside. He remained an integral part of their lives throughout his 95 years with memorable visits, letters, and phone calls.

During World War II Tom served as a radio officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine, seeing service in the South Pacific and in the Middle East. He attended Reed College, the University of British Columbia, and UC Berkeley, earning his MSW in Psychiatric Social Work.

In August of 1950 he married Kaye Bush Kroman (now of Ashland) in Seattle. In 1952, daughter Mary Leslie was born, followed by the birth of Joanna Kaye in 1953, and Elizabeth Claire (Betsy) in 1955. The family moved to the Rogue Valley in 1956 to raise their three daughters in the Lone Pine area of Medford. Tom and Kaye were divorced in 1965.

Although he was an early director of Jackson County Mental Health Clinic, his true calling was always working with individuals, families, and couples. His work took him to Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska. Tom settled into a Talent residence in his senior years.

He was a member of the Rogue Valley Sierra Club, a charter member of the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist congregation, and an early organizer of outdoor ski and hiking groups. Young at heart and steadfast in body until this past year, Tom was the oldest member of the Ashland YMCA senior floor exercise class.

As a father he shared his love of exploration, hiking, the Alaska ferry, backpacking, fishing, crabbing, and clamming, along with a gusto for life and a deep appreciation for outdoor adventures, gardening, personal growth, Buddhist perspectives, seasonal celebrations, and regional conservation efforts. He was known to romp with the family goat during happy hour and applaud sunsets at mountain lakes.

He led daughters Betsy and Joanna on a backpack of the Wallowa Mountains; took part in Sierra Club service trips within Hawaii’s Haleakala Crater, and the Trinity Alps; climbed Mt Shasta; and at age 80, completed a sixteen mile backpack with daughter Mary into the Sky High Lakes of northern California.

In his unique style as a one-eyed, left-handed, classically trained humanist from Reed College and Berkeley, he was known to cite Longfellow and Dr. William Oesler, explore back roads within the state of Jefferson, snitch peaches, flowers, and asparagus from abandoned orchards, sing 1930’s church camp songs, and unknowingly create amusing spoonerisms, commanding his daughters to “pass the paramecium” cheese at the dinner table.

He is survived by daughter, Mary of Coos Bay (grandchildren, Summer and Matthew) and daughter, Joanna of Ashland (grandchildren Sam and Gus; husband Steve.) His youngest daughter, Betsy, preceded him in death in 1979.

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