Deceased December 5, 2011
View alumni profile (log in required)
After living with Parkinson’s disease and “keeping it at bay” for years, Sheldon Goidell passed away on Dec. 5, 2011, surrounded by family.
Shel considered his time at Amherst among the best years of his life. Stories and songs abound: DQ, Theta Xi, swimming with Hank Dunbar ’44. As kids, we piled into the convertible to attend reunions (particularly funny memories of a coed party in full swing at the former fraternity). Years later, we strolled through generations of team portraits lining the walls of LeFrak Gym, ending with precious moments contemplating Memorial Hill and the fields.
Shel was born May 8, 1927, in Hartford, Conn., and raised in Springfield, Mass., son of Samuel and Rosalie (Naidorf) Goidell. First violin in the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Upon returning, he attended Amherst on the G.I. Bill—a turning point for him—and received his B.A. in psychology. He continued on to NYU School of Law, receiving his degree in 1952.
It was in Manhattan that he met his wife, Paula (Karmiel). After a European adventure, they moved to northeastern Pennsylvania, Shel designing and producing women’s shoes with his in-laws. He joined Rotary and Temple B’nai B’rith, enjoyed sports and traveled extensively to experience food and culture around the world. He could strike up conversation with anyone, for business or pleasure, from Kansas City to Kenya.
Shel continued his vigorous daily walks in the Florida heat, clad in well-worn Amherst apparel, until moving closer to family in California.
He and Paula, who died in 2004, were married for 48 years. He is survived by a son, Bill, daughter-in-law Leora and grandchildren Sam and Jake; and a daughter, Hillary Goidell Duchateau ’90, son-in-law Ludovic and grandchildren Stella and Lucien. Also surviving are sister Joy Viertel, brother-in-law Allan Brandt ’45, nieces and nephew Eric Brandt ’72.
Sheldon was meticulous and determined. His sharp sense of humor never faded. He will be dearly missed.
—Hillary Goidell, with contributions from Bill Goidell