Friday, June 13, 2008

Joe Henican's Eulogy for Colin

Joe Henican, long time family friend, also spoke on behalf of Colin at his funeral. We wanted to share it with you.

Good afternoon. My name is Joe Henican. I have been friends with the Goodiers for many years. Glenn and I played basketball together at Jesuit High School more than 40 years ago. And, in fact, I had my first date with Nicette, something she doesn’t remember. I guess it’s not hard to understand why that date meant more to me than it did to her.

Last Monday is a day that will change our lives forever, a day that, though we try to forget, will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Last Monday was a very dark day. But I have hope, and hope, it is said, is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.

And I choose not to dwell on the events of Monday, but rather to spend my time thinking about another day, a happier day, a joyous day…September 25, 1979, the day Colin Goodier was born. For on that day, we met, for the first time, a person who would grow to be someone who was truly outstanding in every way, a person who would accomplish much in everything he would do. As a student, an athlete, a doctor, a friend, a brother and a son I know no one who accomplished so much in just 28 years. From his first days, to his time at Stuart Hall, to the Carrollton playground, to Jesuit High School, the University of Virginia, LSU Medical School and beyond, from his days in diapers to his days in scrubs, the huge cadre of friends that were Colin’s, every one of them, realized what a special person he was, and all came to rely on him, to count on him, to depend on him.

I also choose not to think about what might have been, but rather what was, for what was is enough to fill what, for most, would be a very long, successful, fruitful life. Colin had a very full life, a life that served as an example for all of us and for all of our children. Throughout his life, Colin was the person that every mom and dad would want their child to be and to become. Colin was the person that we would all love to be.

One need only read the comments left on the Baton Rouge Advocate website to realize what Colin meant to his most recent friends, who said things like “Colin was one of the most brilliant medical students I ever had the honor of working with. Not only was he wise beyond his years, but his personality and empathy for his patients demanded respect,” and “Colin had a zest for life that was unmatched. All of us who were fortunate enough to have witnessed his life and work are better physicians and people for having had the opportunity,” And “I worked under Colin and was motivated and inspired by his tremendous energy and care for his patients. Colin truly made a difference.” Indeed, this is no ordinary person.

And although Colin had his serious side, what I remember most about Colin is his sense of humor. Colin laughed as hardily as anyone I’ve ever met. I had the honor of coaching Colin on one of the greatest teams ever in the 7-8 year old league at the Carrollton playground, a team known as “The Rally Caps.” Colin was our all-star shortstop and clean-up hitter. I’ll never forget the time when Colin and a few of his teammates counseled another teammate that he shouldn’t go to the plate with that left handed bat, because he was a right handed hitter, “change that bat before you strike out.” And change the bat he did, to the delight of Colin, his teammates, and their coach.

Colin was loyal, loyal to his friends and family, perhaps most of all to his parents. At one of Stuart Hall’s overnight camp outs, his father brought his official Army tent to sleep in. When Glenn opened the tent and began pitching it, it became apparent that the tent must have been used in its previous life as a latrine, thanks perhaps to the family cat. Glenn was asked by some of the other fathers if he wouldn’t mind setting up a few hundred yards away from the camp site…preferably downwind. Several people offered to let the Goodiers bunk in with them. But Colin was proud of his Dad, would have nothing of it, and slept throughout the night in that tent, right next to his hero.

Though many things came easy to Colin, he was not without his share of challenges. After being a little league baseball star, Colin’s high school career got off to a somewhat rocky start. But he was not discouraged, and was not to be deterred. He worked hard, conditioning himself, and preparing himself to overcome the obstacles that had presented themselves. Colin’s hard work, determination and perseverance paid off, and he indeed rose to the top of prep baseball, hitting .400 in his senior year and leading Jesuit to the state championship game. Hard work did not frighten Colin, it only served to inspire him, and to make the ultimate success that much more rewarding and enjoyable.

Colin was the epitome of a well rounded person. He was as comfortable serving as a page in Nerius and Oberon, as he was on the baseball field or golf course, in the operating room or at Bruno’s having a nightcap. He got along with all types of people, from all walks of life, and had close friends from every phase of his life, and it seemed that everyone of those friends believed that he was Colin’s best friend.

There is something that few people know about Colin. The LSU Medical School has instituted a strict Honor Code, one that the school emphasizes to its students as being of utmost importance, and one that is strictly enforced. Colin broke the Honor Code. You see Colin and his friends in medical school had a game of shooting pennies at one another. Colin was very good at it, and could shoot a penny across the room as hard and fast as anyone. This one fateful day, Colin entered the student lounge, fired a penny at a classmate, and missed. He hit a copy of the Honor Code that was hanging on the wall, knocking it to the floor, and breaking it. The Honor Code was put back on the wall, with a crack, and it remains in place, with a Liberty Bell-like crack even today. And thus the story of Colin breaking the Honor Code.

There is a temptation to rush to canonize Colin’s memory; there is no need to do so. He stands tall enough as a human being of unique qualities not to need to be seen as a saint. Indeed, to sanctify his memory would be to miss out on the very core of his being, his wonderfully mischievous sense of humor with a laugh that bent you in two. His joy for life transmitted wherever he took his smile and the sparkle in those unforgettable eyes and his boundless energy, which he could barely contain.
What Colin was able to do, and the person he developed into, was not a coincidence. It happened because Colin was born into a wonderful, caring, loving family, with parents who not only possessed the wonderful qualities that Colin inherited, and fostered the growth and development of those qualities, but who were always there to teach, to guide, and to support Colin in every way. Colin was blessed to have wonderful grandparents, and aunts and uncles, and cousins, and to have a brother and sisters, and sister-in-law and brother-in-law who loved him, respected him, and were brimming with pride just to have him as their brother.

I choose to remember the Colin that I’ve always known, for the Colin that I have known is as good as anyone can get. And I know that I speak for all of us in saying that, in a profound sense, Colin did not die on Monday, that he lives in all of us whose lives he touched, in all of us who are better because we knew him, in all of us who have a part of him forever within us. And in a profound sense, Colin will never die, because those of us who knew him will keep him alive within ourselves and we will share what we learned from Colin with all of those with whom we come in contact. I choose to spend my time thinking about September 25, 1979, the day that truly changed the lives of all of us.

Col-lin, God Bless you. And Thank You.

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