Lawyer's favorite jewel just might be a baseball diamondBy Tom Fontaine
Herald Staff Writer
Baseball is a metaphor for life.
So when Bob Wiley of Sharon said one of the best things about his longtime friend, David Goodwin, is that he "always caught the ball with two hands," you start to understand things about Goodwin, one of this year's Buhl Day Honorees.
Wiley and Goodwin were teammates on the First Presbyterian Church of Sharon softball team for too many years to recall accurately -- Wiley as a pitcher, Goodwin a leftfielder.
"He was a good guy to have behind you," Wiley said. "You could always count on him being there, making the catch with two hands."
Goodwin was born in Sharon in 1926, and grew up on the city's West Hill.
As a senior at Sharon High School, Goodwin dropped his books midway through the year and enlisted in the Army.
"At that time it was considered a duty to serve your country," he said. "And people did it proudly."
Goodwin never saw combat, however. Shortly after he arrived in the Philippines the war ended.
After his term of service was up in 1946, Goodwin returned to Sharon. He enrolled at Westminster College, commuting to New Wilmington, and worked part-time at the Sharon Post Office.
"During the summers I was making $60 a week working at the post office," he said. "I thought it was the motherlode."
After graduating from Westminster in 1950, Goodwin enrolled at the prestigious University of Michigan Law School.
However -- "I hated law school," Goodwin said with a laugh. "Absolutely detested it. The Socratic method of teaching law was, to me, boring."
Despite thoughts of leaving law school, Goodwin graduated in 1953.
Within the year, Goodwin was married -- after a five-year courtship -- and working at a Sharon law firm.
Now, 46 years later, he is still married to the same "amazing woman" and still working at the same law firm -- which is now Fruit, Dyll, Goodwin and Scholl, in Sharon. He and his wife, Sally, who live in Sharon, have five sons: John, Paul, Tom, James and Robert.
Goodwin said taking the job at the local firm was "one of the best decisions" he ever made.
With a hearty laugh William McConnell Sr., president of the Mercer County Bar Association said, "He's such a nice guy, he probably shouldn't be a lawyer.
"But he is very highly respected among the members of the association," McConnell said.
Goodwin is a former president of the association, one of the numerous associations and organizations he has been involved with.
At the First Presbyterian Church of Sharon, for which he provides his legal expertise, Goodwin has served on the board of trustees and been an elder and a deacon.
Goodwin has also served on the board of the former Merchants and Manufacturers National Bank and the advisory board of Mellon Bank, and presently serves on the board of Mercer County Children and Youth Services.
Goodwin, a former president of the Sharon Rotary Club, is a member of the American Legion, Sharon Lions Club, Free and Accepted Masons Shenango Lodge 668, and the Legion of Honor of Scottish Rite's New Castle Consistory.
The activity people most commonly associate with Goodwin, however, is baseball.
He has been involved for more than 20 years with the Sharon Senior Division.
"I don't know if the league could survive without him," said Don Kilbert of Sharon. "He is the pillar of the Sharon Senior Division."
Kilbert and Goodwin are opposing managers in the league, tireless volunteers for the league, and good friends.
"You can never say enough good things about him," Kilbert said. "He never gets enough credit ... but he would never want any anyway."
Wiley agrees: "That's how he is ... he never wants to be in the spotlight. He would rather hand out credit to other people."
Goodwin has received recognition for his service to the league in 1982, 1989 and 1994, and was named "Man of the Year" in 1986.
Of his coaching style, Goodwin admits, "I sympathize with the guys who sit on the bench. I know what it's like."
Goodwin helped start a Saturday league in Sharon for 13-year-olds -- who often don't get much playing time in the league of 13- to 15-year-olds.
The leftfielder may be far removed from the spotlight, but he is in the game -- often called upon to make a game-saving catch.
And Goodwin does, with two hands.