An employee of Starke County for more than four decades retired yesterday from what was supposed to have been a temporary job. Gerald Ford was in the White House and gas was 55-cents a gallon when Carl Goodrich took over as courthouse custodian on Nov. 26, 1974.
He had just been laid off from a factory job in Plymouth when his in-laws suggested he apply for the position with the county. Goodrich says he didn’t expect to get the job when he went before the county commissioners.
“I was the wrong party, and they said ‘well, he looks pretty young.’ I’m only 22, and I”m the wrong party. That’s when (auditor) Jack Milner spoke up and said ‘give the kid a chance.’ They did. That’s where it started,” Goodrich said.
He figured he’d give the job a shot for a couple of weeks. Things fell into place, and he stayed. The job at the courthouse afforded a few other opportunities as well. One of his favorite memories is the time he was painting a room in the office of then-county clerk Rhonda Milner, who happened to mention nobody had signed up to run for the Hamlet Town Council seat in his district. It was a few hours before the qualifying deadline, so Goodrich signed up, figuring someone else would come in before noon. He went back to painting, checked his watch, saw that it was after noon and found out he was a town board member.
Goodrich served four years on the Hamlet Town Board and has been a member of the Starke County Airport Authority board since 2000. He’s seen a lot of faces come and go over the years and quite a few changes as well. One of the biggest was the conversion from electric typewriters to computers. He says that was a big adjustment for the courthouse staff.
h says his favorite part of the job was meeting the people and office holders, all of whom he says have been really nice. The current county commissioners proclaimed June 4, 2015 “Carl Goodrich Day” and hosted a retirement open house in his honor.
“Leaving is going to be sad-like, but it’s like leaving home. Actually it was my second home. I just won’t have as much to take care of. I enjoyed doing it. It was a lot of fun,” Goodrich said.
His retirement plans include working on his Model-T and catching up on some other projects at home.