James F. Goldberg '61
Deceased December 31, 2011
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Jim Goldberg died at his home in Cambridge, Mass., on the last day of 2011, after a diagnosis of Stage IV cancer and three subsequent months of extraordinary care given by his loving wife, Trudy Bauer. On Dec. 14 he celebrated his 72nd birthday in the company of Trudy, their children from previous marriages and four grandchildren. In illness Jim was visited regularly by several Amherst classmates and contacted by many others, reflecting the enduring significance of his college experience. Amherst also shaped his lifelong concern for the careful use of language, exhibited for us last year in his work as co-editor of our 50th reunion book.
To convert his English major into an academic career, Jim pursued graduate work at Columbia, where he found many opportunities to exercise his social conscience in the tempestuous atmosphere of the ’60s. Teaching at Brandeis in 1969, Jim published an essay that dramatized his blend of cultural erudition and social consciousness. In it he recognized that teaching literature as he had been doing ran counter to his ideas about serving society. His passion for social and economic justice led to a career as writer, editor, public policy analyst and advocate for causes such as local affordable housing. Much of his work was as a grantwriter for nonprofit organizations, including elder services agencies. He joked that he could now write testimonials for them instead.
Jim always had an ironic sense of humor, and it is certainly true that he could be grumpy, both traits being reactions to the state of the world he perceived. But no grumpiness could long hide his generosity of spirit. Surely he saw and appreciated multiple ironies in the prospect of being buried in a cemetery on land that was once part of the utopian community Brook Farm.
—Jan Beyea ’61
—Charles Husbands ’61