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Dr. James's Story

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Dr. James Richard "Jim" Goff passed away on December 15, 2017, at Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Mo., after a long life filled with love, friendship and humor.
Jim was born February 12, 1942, in Eldorado, Kan. He was the only child of James Richard "Jimmy" Goff and Marguerite Houk because, after he was born, they realized they had reached perfection. While he was an infant, the family moved to Joplin which he considered home for the rest of his life.
He met his wife of 52 years, Carole Riley, when he was a student at Joplin Junior College and they married on August 21, 1965. They were blessed with two of the most remarkable children ever born, James Richard "Rich" Goff, III, and Erin Elizabeth Goff.
Despite participating in the parking of a car in the halls of the then brand new Joplin High School during his senior year, Jim still managed to graduate from JHS in 1960. He graduated from Joplin Junior College in 1963, the same year as his wife, who started a year earlier. Some think he was goofing off, but obviously, he was waiting for Carole. Jim continued his education at Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn., where, earlier this year, he attended the 50th anniversary of his 1967 graduation. Jim practiced optometry in Joplin for 50 years. He helped many people see the world more clearly.
Jim was one helluva Little League baseball coach. One of his proudest achievements was carving 20 turkeys in less than 3 hours for St. Peter's annual turkey dinner just a few weeks ago. He was a member of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church where he served on the parish council. Jim had served on the board of directors at Joplin Little Theatre where he was awarded two best supporting actor awards, one in 1997 and the second in 2007. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Jim's prior brushes with death include accidentally riding a lawn mower into Shoal Creek and overturning it onto himself in the late 1970's and nearly severing his leg with a chain saw in the 1980's. He fell into an open grave in Poland in 2005 and had to be pulled out.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, as well as a great little black dog named Patrick, two Irish Wolfhounds, Murphy and Casey, Sunshine the duck, Ace the horse, and numerous other well-loved dogs and cats who hit the jackpot when they wandered up to the Goff house.
Jim is survived by his wife, Carole; his children, Rich Goff (Julie) of Little Elm, Texas, and Erin Goff (Patrick Edson), of Denver, Colo.; and two incredibly smart, good looking, talented, and charming grandchildren, Parker Julia Goff Chrisbens, of Denver, and James Richard "Harvey" Goff, IV, of Little Elm.
A Memorial Mass for Dr. Goff will be held on Thursday morning, December 21, at 11 a.m. at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Joplin with Father J. Friedel officiating. Rosary is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday evening in the chapel of Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary in Joplin with visitation to follow until 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are being directed to McAuley Catholic High School Grotto Fund c/o the mortuary.
Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary, Joplin.
Published on December 19, 2017
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