Maine EMS Pioneer Passes Away

Goodwin was the first statewide emergency medical services training coordinator,


MEREDITH GOAD, Portland Press Herald | | Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Most of the people who were touched by the life of C. Frederick Goodwin Jr. had no idea who he was or exactly how he helped them.

But through his work and his teaching he saved many lives, directly or indirectly.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Goodwin - who was known as Freddie - worked as a volunteer on a Scarborough rescue unit. He and his co-workers were the forerunners of modern Emergency Medical Technicians.

With no formal medical training, it was their job simply to make people comfortable and get them to the closest hospital as quickly as possible.

''He basically started on the Scarborough Rescue and came home one day - I'll never forget it, Christmas Day - crying because there had been no training and the patient died because meat was stuck in his throat,'' recalled his wife, Patricia Goodwin of Freeport.

''He decided he could make things better, and that's how it all began.''

Mr. Goodwin went to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., to get medical training, and in the early 1970s taught the first EMT course in southern Maine. He worked full time as a chemistry instructor at Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute, but in his spare time wrote federal grants to get the financing for EMT training in Maine.

Mr. Goodwin was the first statewide emergency medical services training coordinator, and in 1989, he was awarded the State Emergency Medical Services Award.

''He really enjoyed helping people,'' his wife said. ''He and I are so different. I would ride around on calls with him and sit in the car and cry. That was my role. And he was the type that, quite honestly, people would see him coming and they would calm right down and then do what they were supposed to do.''

Patricia Goodwin met her husband when they were both students at Colby College in Waterville. She said she was drawn to his intelligence, good looks and his ''very quick, dry, New England sense of humor.''

They married in January 1966, eloping to Florida.

''Throughout our life, we had our times, as couples do, but overall he made me feel that he could take care of everything for us,'' she said.

In the early years of their marriage, the Goodwins salvaged shipwrecks along the Maine coast that Mr. Goodwin had researched.

In 1969, Patricia Goodwin recalled, ''it rained all summer and we were up at Pemaquid, staying in a tent and working on shipwrecks. It was amazing.''

A daughter, Danielle, came along in 1971.

Mr. Goodwin was something of a Renaissance man, who could teach chemistry or physics one day and work on cars or do some landscaping the next. He and his wife enjoyed refinishing furniture and fixing up old houses.

The Goodwins stayed married for 20 years before divorcing. They lived apart for about 17 years, and then, in 2001, decided to remarry.

They eloped once again, this time tying the knot in front of the Freeport town clerk.

''We've always been best friends, so it just made sense,'' Patricia Goodwin said. ''Some of my friends thought I was crazy, but it has worked.''

Mr. Goodwin died unexpectedly at his home Friday morning at age 68. He'll be remembered during a graveside memorial service at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Scarborough's Black Point Cemetery.

''He was a good guy,'' Patricia Goodwin said. ''He really was.''

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