Kansas City Star, The (MO)

Section: News
Page: A14


Cary Conrad Goodman made mark on KC as an architect

ALEXIA LANG, Special to The Star

Who: Cary Conrad Goodman, 67, of Kansas City.

When and how he died: Dec. 14, after a brief illness.

Early days of creating: Goodman, an architect, was 10 when a photograph of his work was published in The Kansas City Star.

“It was a two-room, contemporary bungalow with a flat roof, shake-shingle siding, a hinged front door, and a window that opened and closed,” remembered Gary Gradinger, Goodman’s friend for 57 years. “Thanks to a very kind and generous neighbor — and a very, very long extension cord — it even had electricity.”

Goodman moved on to create tree houses and other hideaways around the neighborhood.

Sports and school had slowed Goodman’s creating by the time he reached college. But then he transferred to Trinity University in Texas and met Glenda, the woman who would become his wife.

Gradinger recalls discussions with Goodman about her. Goodman called her the absolute love of his life and his “yellow rose of Texas.”

“I had never seen Cary so motivated and inspired,” Gradinger said.

The couple married in 1967 and had one daughter.

“Our family was very close,” Glenda Goodman said.

Big dream for downtown: The handiwork of Goodman the architect can be seen in many buildings across the city, among them the Bartle Hall expansion, Kemper Arena and the museums at 18th and Vine.

He also worked to restore old buildings such as Union Station and the Gem Theater.

“His dream was to revitalize downtown,” Glenda Goodman said. “Fulfillment of the dream came by the design of Town Pavilion.”

Daughter Kristen Goodman remembered how passionate her father was about Kansas City.

“When I was a kid, we would spend hours with the three of us driving around town, looking at areas that could be developed,” she said. “My dad had an eye for good design and old buildings.”

More than 400 people attended Goodman’s funeral. Kristen Goodman said many of them noted that they could not look at the Kansas City skyline without thinking of him.

Gradinger said he felt the same way.

“He was more than an architect. He was a city builder,” Gradinger said. “His interest was building a more beautiful city. He loved life and loved every drop of beauty in it.”

Goodman used to comment that “fine design is enduring.”

Gradinger said he would classify Goodman’s design as fine and enduring.

“The first projects he did are still relevant,” he said. “His work is timeless.”

A wet pastime: From the time he was young, Goodman loved to go water skiing.

“While the rest of us were sweating through miserably hot summers mowing lawns, working construction or painting houses, Cary was getting paid to ski water shows at the Lake of the Ozarks,” Gradinger said. “The first barefoot skier I’d ever seen.”

Kristin Goodman recalled many family vacations on the water.

“Every time I look in my backyard at the pool and the water in it, I think of my dad,” she said.

Survivors include: His wife of 43 years, a daughter, a son-in-law, three grandchildren, and his brother and sister.

The last word: One of Goodman’s favorite expressions was, “Imagine waking up every day just to imagine.”