Lawrence “Larry” Goodman joined the love of his life, the late Lillian, on Aug. 2, 2019 at the age of 95. Lillian and Larry met as teenagers and married at 19 when Larry was home on furlough from the Army Air Corps.
On her first trip away from home, Lillian embarked on a 2 year journey following “Laurie” from base to base across the country, the adventure of their young lives together. After the war, Larry seized upon the opportunity of marketing army surplus and opened several small stores.
These quickly turned into the Community Discount Store chain, eventually totaling 35 stores. Lawrence became a staple of Sunday morning TV, when he produced the Flash Gordon Series and personally hosted the “Outer Space Quiz”. Community Discount was the first of its kind in the Midwest, the forerunner of the modern self- service discount department store. In 1965, he established a commercial real estate firm that owns and operates office buildings and shopping centers.
The great mission of his life was contributing to the development of the State of Israel, which he pursued with a fierce passion and dedication. From the state’s inception, Larry worked tirelessly to help secure the funding needed for Israel to survive and prosper. Sharing David Ben-Gurion’s vision of revitalizing Israel’s Negev region, Larry and Lillian directed significant funding to improve the quality of life for all people in this growing area. He also worked to help the lives of people in his home city, Chicago, and across the country.
Following the death of his beloved granddaughter, Cebrin, he created the Cebrin Goodman Center with the fervent hope of saving children from the tragedy of drug addiction. Lawrence was also active in battling hunger, working with the Chicago Food Depository and also serving food in soup kitchens. His entire life was guided by a deeply-held belief of service to others.
His many affiliations include: Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University, where he also received an honorary Doctorate; Chairman of the Midwest Region of Israel Bonds; Past Chairman and Executive Board of America-Israel Chamber of Commerce; Board of Joint Distribution Committee; Past Board of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago: Board of Trustees of Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Chairman of American Friends of the Be’er-Sheva Foundation.
Lawrence was the loving husband of the late Lillian Goodman, father of Sharyn Johnson, Gary Goodman, the late Ilyse (Bob) Lopatin, and Nancy Goodman. He was the beloved Poppy of the late Cebrin Goodman, Michele (Ed) Taylor, Lindsey Lopatin, Rachel (Rush) Sturges, Hailey (Jonathan) Cole, Chelsea (Jason) Lawson, Scott Goodman, and Nathan Goodman. He was also a treasured Poppy to his 9 great-grandchildren.
A celebration of a life well lived was held in the Chicago area. Contributions in Larry’s memory may be made to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, or the American Friends of the Be’er-Sheva Foundation.