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Congressman Bill Goodling remembered fondly at memorial Friday

More than 150 people gathered Friday, Sept. 29, to pay their respects to former Rep. Bill Goodling, a Republican from Seven Valleys who represented York County in Congress for decades.

The 7 p.m. memorial service was held at the Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown.

Kathryn Mummert of Spring Grove signs the guest register at Bill Goodling's Celebration Service at Codorus Church of the Brethren Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. She said workied as a district assistant for Goodling for over 20 years. Bill Kalina photo

About 50 of of those who attended were Goodling's former staff members and congressional workers who came from near and far to honor his memory.

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Goodling, who served 26 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, died Sunday, Sept. 17, at 89.

He was remembered for his work in education — both as a chair for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and in serving more than 20 years in the school system as principal at West York High School and superintendent and guidance counselor for the Spring Grove Area School District.

Soloist Diane Susek sang "People" in honor of Goodling, which was fitting because "Put people before politics" was his campaign slogan, said his daughter, Jenni Goodling.

His former 19th Congressional District staff members remembered his kindness and willingness to go above and beyond for others.

Richard DiEugenio, who served on the education committee staff when Goodling was on the committee, said he really gave a sense of family to his staff.

"He cared about us as people. That's just who he was," he said.

Photos from Bill Goodling's political life cover tables at his Celebration Service at Codorus Church of the Brethren Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

"He was a teacher, principal and guidance counselor to all of us," said staff member Kimberly Strycharz Skinner.

Skinner read comments from staff members who could not be there, including former chief of staff and communications director Tim Stadthaus.

"Washington knew Bill Goodling as an expert in education policy, and this was surely a passion to him, " Stadthaus said. "He stood for common sense, honor, integrity, decency and kindness."

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Elected in 1974 to replace his father, George Goodling, Bill Goodling was known best for his Even Start Program, which allows parents to receive literacy training in order to be better resources for their children’s education. 

Former chief of staff Dale Petroskey admired Goodling's firm convictions but also commended his openness to reaching across the political aisle to compromise.

Jenni Goodling speaks about her father during Bill Goodling's Celebration Service at Codorus Church of the Brethren Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Bill Kalina photo

He was always thinking about what was best for the kids and teachers, according to Petroskey, who rememembered Goodling saying, "There are no boundaries when it comes to our children's lives." 

DiEugenio recalled a call Goodling received from his father in which he said, "Bill, if you don't stop voting with those liberals, I'll run against you."

Goodling was also very proud of York County, and as Petroskey recalled, he would always bring apple fritters and chicken corn soup to the office to share. 

He retired in 2001 after 13 terms in office, and his full-length portrait hangs in the education committee hearing room as a reminder of his years of service.