DECATUR – Charles Edward Goodrich died at home on May 23, 2020, surrounded by family after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He was born September 20, 1936, to George F. Jr. and Mildred (Nothdruft) Goodrich. Born, raised, lived and died within one-half mile, Charlie was proud to say he had spent most of his 83+ years as a resident of Hamilton Township, Van Buren County.
A skilled tradesman, during his lifetime he did many types of work—pattern maker, tool and die, sheet metal work, plumbing and handyman. He was a conservator of the land and throughout life he also worked the family farm.
Charlie believed in volunteerism and service. He was a former 4-H leader and a member of the Historic Hamilton Grange Hall Committee. He wanted to give back to his community and to make the world a better place. “God expects us to do more on Earth than take up space,” he said.
An environmental advocate, Charlie spent 19 years as steward of Michigan Nature Association’s (MNA’s) Phillips Family Memorial Nature Sanctuary in Hamilton Township. He led workdays and tours, cleared trails and built benches, walkways and bridges in several MNA Sanctuaries and was named 2010 Volunteer of the Year. He was also a volunteer and strong advocate of Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC).
A member of Wakelee United Methodist Church, Charlie was part of the Administrative Council and Wakelee Woodcutters, a service group that enjoys the camaraderie of serving and working together while providing firewood to folks for home heating.
He was proud to serve Hamilton Township as a trustee for 16 years, zoning administrator for 13 years and commissioner of noxious weeds for five years. After being elected trustee, he did his best to live the words he saw written in a Michigan Township Association training workbook, “It’s not about you!”
On September 5, 2009, he married Nancy Young, who survives along with his children Jeff (Joyce) Goodrich of Paw Paw; Terri (Rich) Sageman of Rockford; John (Cathy) Goodrich, Suzie Roehm, Jennifer Keller and Tina (Jon) Campos of Decatur; and step-daughters Kristen Chandler of Branson, Missouri, and Karen Querfurth (Frankie Scott) of Cassopolis; and one sister, Annalee Miller of Dowagiac. Twelve grandchildren include Keith Goodrich, Christie (Ted) Zablocki, and Greg (Brandi) Goodrich; Andrea (Peter) Drent and Adam Sageman; Ken (Amy) Goodrich, Brian Goodrich, and Sally (Lukas) Smith; Christopher Keller, Brandon Keller and Makenna Keller; and Katelynn Campos. Six step-grandchildren include Kylee Chandler, Emma Chandler, Makenna Stezowski, Brandon Stezowski, Jayden Querfurth and Bently Scott. Nine great-grandchildren round out the Goodrich Family Forest (so much more than a family tree).
Charlie was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years Pat (Campbell) Goodrich; son, Randy Goodrich; grandson, Derrick Goodrich; and granddaughter, Carrie Shumway.
There will be a private family service for interment of ashes at Hamilton Township Cemetery. An outdoor celebration of life service will be held on the back lawn of the Historic Hamilton Township Grange Hall, at the intersection of C.R. 215 and 84th Avenue, Decatur, at 11 a.m. on August 1, 2020. Dress will be casual, and following the service, attendees are invited to walk the trail of the adjacent Phillips Family Memorial Nature Sanctuary. Rather than sending flowers, Charlie requested people honor his memory by planting a tree or volunteering and supporting the organization of their choice. He wished everyone could enjoy the outdoors and nature as much as he did. In Charlie’s words, “So many trails, so little time.”
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