Norman Goodman, a longtime Stony Brook University professor of sociology,...

Norman Goodman, a longtime Stony Brook University professor of sociology, died on June 25 at age 88. Credit: Stony Brook University

Norman Goodman, a distinguished professor at Stony Brook University and considered one of its "founding generation" of faculty, was remembered for his dedication to students and the university over his storied 56-year career there.

Goodman, who taught in and chaired the Department of Sociology, died peacefully June 25 at his Stony Brook home, said his daughter Sue Goodman of Manhattan. He was 88.

Norman Goodman was highly regarded for a career at the university that began in 1964, just seven years after its founding. Colleagues praised him for how he worked with students, how he engaged with other faculty and administration officials, and for his academic work in sociology.

"I would describe Norm as one of the giants of the original faculty that made Stony Brook into the flagship university that it is today," Nancy Tomes, a SUNY distinguished professor of history at Stony Brook, said in an interview with Newsday. Her tenure at the university began in 1978.

Goodman also was the author, editor or co-editor of 10 books, including four textbooks in Introductory Sociology and two textbooks in Marriage and the Family, a university obituary noted.

He chaired the university's Department of Sociology for 20 years in two stints — from 1973 to 1989, and again from 2000 to 2004 — and was instrumental in the department's development, university officials said.

He also was the first professor in the State University of New York system to be awarded two distinguished professorships — one for service and one for teaching, according to the university's obituary.

"He loved it," Sue Goodman said of her father's feelings for the university. "And he loved teaching. He loved giving knowledge to students."

Norman Goodman was active in university governance as well. He served as president of the Arts and Sciences Senate, and twice as president and three terms as vice president of the University Faculty Senate. He also edited the SUNY University Senate Bulletin for more than 20 years and served on the SUNY Distinguished Academy Board from its inception until his retirement last year, Stony Brook officials said.

Sue Goodman said her father "helped shaped the university." When he arrived at Stony Brook, she said, the campus was bleak, "just mud and shacks. He helped build it to what it is. He helped guide it. It was his second wife, as my mom used to say."

Tomes, immediate past president of the University Senate, said he "remained a powerful influence" over many years.

"I just came to appreciate the time and effort he put into the life of the whole university," she said. "There’s always that temptation to get involved in your research or your teaching, but not much else. Norm wasn’t like that.

"He kept reminding us: Yes, we're there to do research and teach, but also we need to step up and do committee work, things you don’t get a lot of credit for in the promotion process. ... He was one of the reasons I could see for staying and trying to become that kind of leader myself."

Tomes added: "He was really special. I’m glad that he flourished as long as he did ... and I’m really sad to see him go."

Sue Goodman said her father was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and graduated from Stuyvesant High School. He received a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and a master's from Queens College, she said. Stony Brook notes Norman Goodman received his PhD from New York University in 1963.

In addition to his daughter, Goodman's survivors include his wife of 67 years, Marilyn; a son, Jack Goodman of Port Washington; another daughter, Carolyn Goodman of Mineola; brothers Barry Goodman of East Islip and Harvey Goodman of Holly Springs, North Carolina; sister Elaine Sabra of Florida; and two grandchildren.

Services were held on June 29 at Shalom Memorial Chapels in Smithtown.

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