Fondly known as the mayor of the Eastham Transfer Station, James Leo Goodrich died suddenly on Dec. 30, 2021 at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. His family was at his side.
Jim’s death was announced at an Eastham Select Board meeting and on a sign at the entrance to the transfer station. No cause of death has been reported. He was 66.
He was born in Fairfax, Vt. on Feb. 20, 1955 and raised by adoptive parents, Russell and Anne Goodrich, in Rutland. After his marriage to Karon Butler, the couple lived in Vermont and Connecticut for a few years and then moved to Eastham to be closer to her parents. He worked as a custodian, first at Eastham Elementary School and then Nauset High School.
Jim started at the Eastham transfer station in September 2011 and quickly endeared himself to everyone he encountered. “Jim had a wry sense of humor,” wrote Carol Burton in an online tribute, “a keen eye on the world around him and a steady, wonderful disposition.”
He was praised by many who worked on the Eastham Famous Flower Islands (EFFI). “Jim was a great help to all of our EFFI workers,” wrote Frank Dobek. “He will be missed for what he did and the personality he was.”
Brian LaValley, a colleague, said, “Jim took me under his wing and showed me everything I needed to know, while having fun breaking my chops. He greeted many people by name and often asked about their families or how their kids were doing in school. He loved his family and would do anything for his wife and kids. The big question at the dump this summer will be, ‘Where’s Jim?’ ”
Silvio Genao, Eastham’s DPW director, said, “He was just a good soul. This is a big loss, not only for us and our department, but for the whole community.”
Jim is survived by his wife, Karon, a daughter, Hope, and two sons: James, his wife, Julie, and their two children, Alexzander James (“A.J.”) and Annabel; and Kevin and his wife, Danielle. He also leaves a brother, Richard, and sister-in-law, Bonnie, of Vermont.
The Eastham DPW is launching a GoFundMe campaign to help Jim’s family. For more information, call 774-801-0520.
A celebration of Jim’s life is planned for the spring. —Tom Recchio
Editor’s note: This obituary has been updated and expanded since its original publication in print on Jan. 13.