Paul Goodman, a retired construction company executive and artist, died July 18 of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Fox Hill, an assisted-living facility in Bethesda.
The former longtime Pikesville resident was 96.
The son of Abraham Goodman, a bricklayer who emigrated from Poland, and Anna Wolfe Goodman, a homemaker, he was born in Baltimore and raised on Whittier Avenue.
His father took a job with Bethlehem Steel Corp., lining coke ovens with brick at the company's Sparrows Point plant. In 1924, he established Goodman Construction Co.
Mr. Goodman, who began drawing when he was 5, was a 1934 City College graduate.
"Let's face it," he told The Evening Sun in a 1972 interview, "I was a Depression kid. I had to work in order to eat. I went to Hopkins at night for some engineering, architectural drawing and fine art instruction, but I never got any degrees."
"Being a loyal son was expected, so he was forced to abandon his true passion to be an artist professionally," said his son Richard B. Goodman of Los Angeles.
"When he was a young man, he would draw portraits of movie stars on envelopes and put a three-penny stamp on the corner of the envelope, drop it in a mailbox with no more specific address than 'Hollywood, California,' " his son said.
"Enclosed in the envelope he wrote a note to the individual star and asked, 'If this ever reaches you, would you be kind enough to autograph your portrait and mail it back to me?' Miraculously, Clark Gable, Ginger Rogers and Claudette Colbert, among others, complied," his son said.
Mr. Goodman told The Evening Sun in the interview that his "rate of return was about 75 percent," and included responses from Mae West and Jimmy Cagney.
After high school, Mr. Goodman joined his father in Goodman Construction Co.
During World War II, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the Quartermaster Corps, where he attained the rank of captain.
"My unit was being sent overseas, and I was pulled out at the last minute to do some illustrations for a technical journal," Mr. Goodman said in the 1972 interview. "While in combat, my entire unit was blown up."
While working for the Army's Technical Training Service Journal, he said, "I would do things like how to turn a 55-gallon drum into a shower unit. It wasn't exactly art but it was necessary. Somebody had to do it. I was lucky it was me."
"He also drafted many detailed drawings of his inventions for rifle sighting and field-improvised devices that were implemented by the Army," his son said.
Mr. Goodman returned to his father's company at the end of the war.
The father and son constructed many award-winning buildings in the Baltimore area, including the old Hahn's shoe store on Lexington Street, Seafarers Union Hall on East Baltimore Street, Woodmoor Shopping Center and Middlesex Shopping Center in Essex.
They also built all Baltimore-area Read's Drug Stores — a chain that was later acquired by Rite Aid.
Mr. Goodman continued to balance his professional life with his art. During the 1950s and 1960s, he studied with the New York Art Students League in Woodstock, the Arizona School of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art and the Baltimore Museum of Art, where he studied sculpture with Freda Sohn.
The Goodman firm became inactive in the late 1970s, and the elder Mr. Goodman died in 1984.
"I was not pressured into it," Mr. Goodman, who later had his own real estate development company, said in the interview.
"Art is my hobby. Art is a fascinating hobby but I'm really glad I don't have to make a living from it. Because you know what? I'd probably starve," he said.
One of Mr. Goodman's artistic strengths was portraiture, but he also was an excellent equine painter and enjoyed sculpture.
"Some of his finest work was in the area of portraiture, but this was not restricted to humans; he created stunning works depicting thoroughbred racehorses, most notably Secretariat and Ruffian," said his son. "His bronze castings of horses are some of his finest pieces."
In 1972, Mr. Goodman and his wife, the former Pauline Klugman, traveled to Israel at the invitation of Moshe Dayan, who was then the country's minister of defense, to present the famed military leader with a life-size bronze statue.
A life-size abstract figure, "A Woman of Valor," is on permanent exhibition at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, where Mr. Goodman was a member. He also sculpted a bronze of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
The former Slade Avenue resident, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2007, also attended Beth Jacob Congregation.
Mrs. Goodman died in 1985.
Services for Mr. Goodman were held July 21 at Sol Levinson & Bros.
Mr. Goodman is survived by another son, Jeffrey S. Goodman of Darnestown; a sister, Bette Hankin of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun