John Goolrick passes away at 70

Mr. Goolrick was always handy with a letter or note for those who visited or stopped by. Though he often wrote about his personal thoughts on the comings and goings of state and local politics, I can remember specific instances of other individuals breaking that unwritten code of not sharing those letters with others.

Hopefully I can be forgiven my first offense by offering the last paragraph of an e-mail, just to let others know his style and character:

Melissa says family doing well. You coming to Mark Cole’s event? Hope to see you soon. I write a column Old Dominion Politics that is in a lot of weekly papers each week..will resume it soon. Bacon uses my stuff once in a while. Keep on trucking. You are young and will prevail. I enjoy your blog. Lots of good insights.

I stopped by his office after he returned from his first hospital trip. We talked about Patton, my June 2005 race, state politics and its tone and tenor today, and family – particularly my 11 month old daughter Caroline.

Mr. Goolrick passed away yesterday at the age of 70. His last article wrote about the lost civility in politics, something which we can all lament and look forward to its return. In a certain way, that article was truly the capstone to a lasting legacy. I certainly hope there is an effort at some point to collect his writings and publish them. They certainly would make a great snapshot of Virginia politics in the 20th century.

Mr. Goolrick and I shared a respect for General George Patton, which was always a great talking point. He really was “plugged in” as they say, but also one of the nicest, kindest people you could care to meet. A reporter, consultant, and a good man — one whose career I would instantly emulate.

Funeral arrangements are still being developed.

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