Deceased October 31, 2022

View alumni profile (log-in required)
Read obituary

In Memory

Rick Goggans died the morning of October 31. He’d just turned 71 eight days earlier and celebrated at a local sushi restaurant with his wife, Catherine. She found Rick in bed after he had passed away peacefully in his sleep. 

Rick loved and found pride in his association with the Amherst Class of ’71, participating on a decades-long class email listserv. He never fully understood his almost obsessive fascination with and loyalty to the place and the people he met there. “I applied on an intuitive basis and have never been able to answer the question why I picked Amherst College,” he once wrote. “I guess it picked me.”

He was among the youngest in our class, just 16 years old, when Tom deBree ’71 first saw him on Pratt South’s fourth floor, the kid from Texas with cowboy boots and a faint drawl, “uncommonly at ease in himself, he wore his boots quietly with warmth, humor, kindness, gentle and unmistakable intellectual acuity,” as Tom recalled. “As a college student, Rick seemed to enjoy both himself and a ready capacity for friendship across a wide spectrum of classmates,” Tom said. Rick had often counseled Tom on how to enjoy life, Tom recalled recently. “He knew how to have fun,” Tom said.

Mason Daring ’71 shared a senior year house in Belchertown with Rick, Sandy Stott ’71, Tim Quill ’71, Randy Parten ’71, David Nathan ’71. Rick became known as “Drifty Fred” because he glided so smoothly and slowly through the halls and campus paths. Golf was one of Rick’s passions, but he took it slow on the course, too, Mason recalled—so slowly in fact that it slowed down Mason’s game and helped him achieve his best ever 18-hole score during a tournament he and Rick played several years ago. Mason recalls Rick as a guy who “never went out with a woman who wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous.”

Rick met young Catherine McCrimmon when he was about 15 and she was even younger, and although friendly, neither was very interested in each other for years, Catherine recalled. Rick was then a year away from becoming the first valedictorian in the first graduation class at Fort Worth’s Trinity Valley School, where their grandchildren now attend. And she was in junior high school. Over the years, the two found they had a lot in common socially and intellectually, and by 1976, they were married. Son Nick was born in San Francisco and Ryan years later in Fort Worth. 

Aside from his family, his college and golf, Rick’s great passion was his career in medicine. While in Europe after Amherst, Rick decided to become a doctor and returned to school at the University of Texas in Austin, where Randy Parten ’71 was going to law school, to get the pre-med credits that got him into Baylor Medical College. An internship at University of California San Francisco and a psychiatric residency at Stanford began a remarkable career in psychiatry and addiction treatment. After years in private psychiatry practice in Fort Worth, Rick and family moved to Camden, Maine, where at the time of his death, he was medical director of McLean Borden Cottage, a facility affiliated with Harvard Medical School where he was lecturer in psychiatry. Rick was also active within the Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians, and Maine Governor Janet T. Mills had appointed him to the state’s Board of Licensure in Medicine. Dr. Goggans was a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a lifelong member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

I didn’t know Rick well in college; we hit it off next to each other, alphabetically waiting for diplomas at graduation. Over the next 53 years, we became friends, spending hours with whiskey, discussing life’s pleasures and vicissitudes. Some describe a certain air of mystery about Rick. In our 50th Reunion book, he wrote: “Be a good listener and focus on gratitude and  compassion.”

Henry Goldman ’71