Goodman, Reuben Alonzo

R. A. Goodman, c. 1919.


R. A. Goodman, 1919.

Goodman, R. A., 1912, 1917,1000

R. A. Goodman, c. 1940.












Principal 1913-1921

Birth: July 23, 1881; Amity, Iredell County, N.C.
Death: August 22, 1969, Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina, USA

Joseph A. B. Goodman
Margaret O. (Lipe) Goodman.

Spouse: Nena Avis (Troutman) Goodman (1884-1974)
Marriage: December 28, 1910 in Troutman, N.C.

Rev. Gilbert Brown Goodman, Sr. (1912-1977)
Margaret Jane Goodman White (1914-1979)
Mary Helen Goodman Cassell (1917- 2013)
Joseph Augustus Goodman (1919-1919)
(died on 17th day after birth)
Sgt. William Bennet Goodman, U.S. Air Force (1921-1944)
(lost in bomber training flight over Gulf of Mexico, April 23, 1944).

William Badger Goodman (1885 – 1958)
Vernie Amanda Goodman (1895 – 1974)

Education: Roanoke College A.B. 1906, D.D. 1928; Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, 1909.

Ordination: 1909 by North Carolina Synod.

Calls: Christ-Calvary, Spencer, 1909-11; Holy Trinity, Mt. Pleasant, 1911-21. Transferred to South Carolina Synod 1921. Supplied many churches, 1921-57, including Redeemer, Newberry, S.C., especially four years in World War II in pastor’s absence as Army Chaplain; named Pastor Emeritus of Redeemer, 1952.

Other: Instructor (Greek, Latin), Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute, 1911-13; and principal and teacher, Mont Amoena Seminary, 1913-21; Professor (Bible, Christian Ethics, Greek), Newberry College, 1921-57, and Secretary of faculty 25 years. Contributed articles to The Lutheran Church Visitor, The Lutheran, and other periodicals. Wrote chapter Voigt as Writer in A. G. Voigt–Moulder of Southern Lutheranism, biography of Dr. A. G. Voigt, long-time head of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. Listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, 1950. Retired 1957 at Troutman, N.C. Retained clerical membership in South Carolina Synod.

Burial: St. Michael Cemetery, Troutman, Iredell, North Carolina.

Source: “Life Sketches of Lutheran Ministers : North Carolina and Tennessee Synods, 1773-1965,” Synod, Lutheran Church in America North Carolina, 1966.;, #43676434.


The Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC), July 27, 1957, p. 11

Dr. R. A. Goodman Retires at Newberry After 37 Years
(Dr. R. A. Goodman has become practically an institution at Newberry College, but the present summer term will end his active association with the Lutheran institution. He will retire and move to Troutman, N. C., the home of Mrs. Goodman. The following article is by L. C. Graham, director of public relations at Newberry College.)

NEWBERRY – Completing a ministerial and teaching career spanning 46 years, Rev. R. A. Goodman, professor of Bible and Christian ethics at Newberry College, will retire at the end of the 1957 summer session.

Dr. Goodman through his life, his teaching, and a multitude of services has endeared himself to the college, the church, and the community.

Through these services: a Bible teacher, the filling of pulpits of many of the various denominations, services on various committees, speeches to a large number of organizations, and the many others he so willingly rendered, he made a real and lasting contribution to the community as a whole. For these many services he will long be remembered and loved by all.

Dr. Goodman was born in 1881 in Amity, Iredell County, N. C., the son of J. A. B. Goodman and Margaret O. Lipe. In an interview, Dr. Goodman said jokingly that 188 was a very dry year, and this was probably the reason he was so small.

Dr. Goodman first attended a one-teacher school with about 60 to 70 students. There were no grades at this time and one teacher taught everything from the ABCs to algebra. He completed this school when he was 15. In discussing this school, Dr. Goodman remarked that Miss Margaret Houck, the teacher, was one of the five great teachers in his life.

For the next four years he was a clerk in a crossroads country store and post office, farmed, fired boilers at a gin, saw mill, and even operated a grist mill by himself – grinding as much as 100 bushels a day, at times.

When Dr. Goodman was 19, he sold his accumulations, which consisted mainly of a horse, a buggy, and a wagon, and for the next two years attended a private school or academy owned by Prof. Peter E. Wright at China Grove, N. C. Dr. Goodman said Prof. Wright, the second great teacher in his life, literally poured in the English, Latin, and math. Then, there was no commencement, with speakers, music, and so forth, no examinations; the last lessons were the examination and commencement.

This school sent scores of boys to college on the simple recommendation of Prof. Wright. Dr. Goodman was one of three boys recommended on one letter for entrance to the  freshman class of Roanoke College. The college, with students from all sections of the United States, for commencement day, selected four student speakers on the basis of their college record. Of the four chosen, three were from Prof. Wright’s school.

Dr. Goodman graduated from Roanoke College, Salem, Va., in 1906, with an A. B. degree. After graduation he was invited to be an instructor at the college and take the Master’s degree, but ministers were so badly needed in the Lutheran Church he was persuaded to forego this opportunity. He entered the Lutheran Seminary at Charleston and completed the prescribed course in 1909. (There were no degrees awarded by the Seminary at that time.)

In 1909, he was ordained to the Lutheran ministry by the North Carolina Lutheran Synod. Again, Dr. Goodman remarked that the president of the synod and the man who preached the ordination sermon were graduates of Newberry College. Was this a harbinger of his landing at Newberry College?

His first ministry was home mission pastor at Spencer, N. C., where he served for two years. He said that it was during that time that the greatest event of his life took place – his marriage to Miss Nena Troutman, at Troutman, N. C.

From Spencer, he was called to be pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at Mount Pleasant, N. C. where he served for ten years. In addition to his pastorate, he taught Latin and history at Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute, a military school for boys under the able leadership of Col. George F. McAlister. After two years in the Institute, he became principal of Mont Amoena Seminary, a school in the same town, for girls. In the meantime, he continued his ministry.

As principal of Mont Amoena, his job was to finance the school, secure students, employ the teachers, and teach any subject for which he could not find an instructor. Again he remarked that he generally ended up teaching everything in school except music and history. While there he was instrumental in establishing elementary courses in science, physics, and chemistry. When asked what he did in his spare time, he said that he assisted the janitor and mowed the grass.

After ten years as pastor of Holy Trinity, and Mont Amoena principal, he accepted a call by the board of trustees of Newberry College – Dr. Sidney J. Demick president – to become teacher of Bible and Christian ethics, on the Summer Brothers Foundation at Newberry College. This position he has filled continuously from that time to the present and his retirement – 36 years.

In recognition of his many years of service to Newberry College, the Board of Trustees presented to Dr. Goodman a Distinguished Service Award at the Centennial Commencement in June 1957.

At the close of the present session of Newberry College summer school, Dr. and Mrs. Goodman will move to Troutman, N. C., the former home of Mrs. Goodman.

Dr. and Mrs. Goodman’s children are Gilbert B. Goodman, pastor, Lutheran Church, Spindale, N. C.; Margaret Jane Goodman (Mrs. Albert White, Statesville, N. C.); Mary Helen Goodman (Mrs. Tom P. Cassell, Rural Retreat, Va.); and William Bennet Goodman (lost in World War II).

Dr. Goodman is a member of the Newberry Exchange Club. He has been pastor emeritus of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer at Newberry for a number of years, and was secretary of the college faculty for 25 years.

His hobby has been hard work. He said that he has had no time for play. Perhaps now in his retirement he may find time for it.


Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, NC), December 29, 1960, p. 4.
Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, NC), August 22, 1969, p. 1.
(Click on images to enlarge)