“We’re all cowards,” Coley said. “There’s no such thing as
courage. There’s only the fear of getting hurt and a fear
of dying. That’s why the human race has lasted so long. You
won’t have any pain with this. I’m going to freeze your
face. Do you want to see yourself now?
“Yes,” Parry said.
“Sit up and take a look in that mirror.” Coley pointed
to a mirror that topped one of the cabinets.
Parry looked at himself.
“It’s a fairly good face,” Coley said. “It’ll be even
better when I’m done with it. And it’ll be very
Petit goes "Down There"
Before there were celebrations of life, there were
funerals. The funeral of David Goodis was conducted on
January 10, 1967 at 1 p.m., at Rosenberg's and Raphael
Sacks funeral home, 4720 North Broad Street, about two
blocks from Superior Billiards.
Grave of David Goodis
Cobrin described the funeral as a “rather shabby affair.”
It was “a routine Jewish funeral.” The arrangements were
made by David’s cousins Samuel and William Goodis, who were
the executors of his estate. “The casket was gray cloth
over wood--the cheapest next to a pine box. It looked very
morbid,” Cobrin said.
The funeral home was “sold out.” “All the friends were
there,” Cobrin said. James Freed asked one of the executors
where should the friends go for the shiva (the Jewish
mourning ritual). The executor answered, “We didn’t know he
had any friends.”
David Goodis was buried in Roosevelt Memorial Park, next to
his parents. “Most of the friends did not go to the
cemetery,” Cobrin said. “About five or 10 of us went to the
Toddle House (a coffee shop near Broad and Belfield Streets
in Logan, a couple of blocks south of the funeral home).
Over lunch we eulogized David.”
Kevorkian recalls funeral of David Goodis. YouTube by Duane
A noir rememberance of the funeral is offered by public
relations executive Andrew Kevorkian. A year or two before
David's death, Kevorkian joined Paul Garabedian on a visit
to the Goodis home. Garabedian and Goodis had gone to Simon
Gratz High School together. At this point, David's life was
taking a dive. His literary output was drying up. He was
ill with heart disease. His brother was institutionalized.
In September 1966, his mother died. Shortly thereafter, he
checked into a mental hospital. Kevorkian said Goodis
appeared to be "fed up with the world, . . . . fed up with
life, . . . . and burned out."
Garabedian and Kevorkian went to the Goodis funeral.
Kevorkian remembered that there was "not much more than a
minyan" at the funeral home. (In traditional Judaism a
"minyan" or minimum of 10 males is required for a religious
service). "The rabbi obviously did not know him," Kevorkian
said. "The rabbi said that he understood that the departed
was a writer. When nobody spoke up about David, the rabbi
spoke about the contributions of writers and artists to
Kevorkian recalls going to the cemetery with Garabedian, so
there would be a few people at graveside. He and Garabedian
did not go to a gathering after the burial.
Toddle House, Broad and Belfield Streets,
where friends gathered after the
I obtained his probate file from the Register of Wills in
Philadelphia City Hall. On January 13, 1967, his will was
probated at No. W-219 of 1967. The Petition for Letters
Testamentary listed no wife. His executors filed an
Inventory listing assets of $221,271.49. Included in this
figure was about $18,000 in bank accounts, about $10,000 in
shares of National Securities and Research Corporation,
about $4750 in shares in the Putnam Fund, about $82,000 in
shares of AT&T, and about $1400 in Series E U.S.
Savings bonds purchased during World War II. The Inventory
listed $437.50 in death benefits payable from the
Producers-Writers Guild of America and publication rights
estimated at $5000. His estate owned a 70 per cent share in
the Estate of Mollie Goodis valued at $98,222.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis publishes a
"Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items."
The index rates January 1, 1967 at 32.9, August 1, 1983 at
100, and February 1, 2006 at 198.7. Therefore, the value of
the Goodis Estate in 1967 should be approximately six times
greater in 2006 dollars. At the time of his death, David
Goodis was worth about $1.3 million in 2006 dollars.
Subtracting his share in his mother's estate, Goodis would
have been worth about $700,000 in 2006 dollars.
Silver with cue stick and Big Fred at the Goodis plot in
Roosevelt Memorial Park, January 26,
On September 14, 1966, David Goodis executed his will. He
left all his personal items to his brother Herbert. He left
$30,000 to "our family's faithful employee" Camelia
Edmunds. The remainder was to be held in trust with the
income going to Herbert. Upon Herbert's death, half of the
trust fund would go to the "faithful family employee" or
her heirs. Another $5,000 was to go to his cousin and best
friend Edwin Sherman. The remainder was to go the United
Fund of Philadelphia, now known as the United Way. The will
was written by a cousin Samuel Goodis, Esquire. Samuel
Goodis, Esquire, and Samuel's brother, William Goodis,
Esquire, were named as executors. Girard Trust Bank was
named as trustees.
According to letters in the legal file of the Goodis
Estate, Herb had been a patient at Norristown State
Hospital since November 12, 1963. On February 27, 1968,
Herb was adjudicated incompetent by the Philadelphia
Orphans Court at No. 197 of 1968. Herb died in 1971. Samuel
Goodis died on January 9, 1969. William Goodis died on
December 15, 1976. After the death of Samuel and William,
the Orphans Court removed Girard trust Bank as trustee,
appointing Provident National Bank in its place.
Silver with cue stick at grave of David
On January 29, 2006, Dutch and I visited the grave of David
Goodis at Roosevelt Memorial Park, in Bucks County just
over the Philadelphia border. The grave is located at
Section B-3, Lot 324, Grave 3. A groundskeeper, named "Big
Fred," and another groundskeeper who did not want us to use
her name, helped us find the grave.
His grave is in the bronze memorial gardens. Instead of
tombstones, there are bronze plaques in the ground. David
is buried between his parents and his brother. His grave
states "Beloved son and brother, David L. Goodis,
1917-1967." The marker shows in Hebrew/Yiddish letters,
"David Leiv ben (son of ) Baruch Velvel." To the left is
his brother's marker which says "Beloved son and brother,
Herbert Goodis, 1923-1971." The marker shows in
Hebrew/Yiddish letters, "Chayim ben (son of) Baruch
of Herbert Goodis.
To the left of David's grave is a joint plaque for his
parents. It says "Goodis." The left side of the plaque says
"William 1882-1963." In Hebrew/Yiddish letters it says
"Baruch Velvel ben (son of) David Leiv." David was named
after his paternal grandfather. The right side of the
plaque says "Mollie 1895-1966." In Hebrew/Yiddish letters
it says "Zelda Malka bat (daughter of) Moshe." David had
another brother, Jerome. Jerome was born after David but
before Herb. Jerome died at age three of encephalitis.
Jerome is not buried in the family plot.
of David's parents, William and Mollie
A stone bench inscribed with the name "Goodis" is behind