Obituary: Luke Hillis Goodrich
Jul 03, 2014 | 1353 views | 0 0 comments | 101 101 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Luke Hillis Goodrich
Luke Hillis Goodrich

Luke Hillis Goodrich

June 6, 1940 to June 19, 2014

Luke Hillis Goodrich was born June 6, 1940 in San Francisco, Calif., and grew up in the Bay Area until he moved to Eugene, Ore., where he graduated from St. Francis High.

He spent the last 43 years of his life in Boulder Creek.

From 1958 to 1962, Luke served in the Air Police Canine Division of the U.S. Air Force.

He was proud that his daughter, Lora, joined the Air Force and soon outranked him.

In 1963, Luke began working with the San Jose Fire Department and achieved his Fire Science degree from San Jose City College and later earned the rank of Captain.

In 1973, Luke was instrumental in forming the SJFD Muster Team and was its first President, as well as the President of the State Fireman's Muster Association.

He was honored in 1975 as Firefighter of the Year.

In 1994, he retired after more than 30 years of service.

He was pleased when his son, Luke, followed his footsteps by joining the San Jose Fire Department.

After his retirement, Luke was free to pursue some of his many interests. He was an avid fly fisherman, gardener, and botanist.

He loved hiking and backpacking, and once hiked the entire 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, taking 6 months to complete it.

His son, Matt, joined him for part of the trek, and later Luke repeated the first section of the trail with his daughter, Renee.

Luke was also a talented storyteller, well known for his “embellishments,” and the adventures of hiking the Appalachian Trail added many more tales to his repertoire.

One of Luke's favorite pleasures was getting a better poker hand than his buddies.

He loved reading, enjoyed lapidary, mining for gemstones, and creating works of art out of nature.

Luke had a variety of talents and interests, but his greatest joy was always in the relationships he had with family and friends, many of whom were with him when he lost his year-long battle with pancreatic cancer on June 19, 2014.

Luke is survived by his beloved wife of 44 years, Sharon Goodrich; daughters, Lora Goodrich of Escondido, Renee Nell of Scotts Valley; his sons and daughters-in-law, Matthew and Shiela Goodrich of Youngsville, La. and Luke and Susanna Goodrich of Santa Cruz; and sisters-in-law Deanna Simonis of Rosamond, Calif. and Lynelle Simonis of Boulder Creek; three grandchildren, four nieces, two nephews, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews and his much loved German Shepherd, Pilgrim.

Luke is preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Eunice Goodrich; his two sisters, Barbara Goldwater and Patricia Higgins; his brother-in-law Earl Higgins; two nieces; one nephew; his mother-in-law, Gladys Simonis; and by his son-in-law, Nicholas Nell.

Funeral Services were held at Santa Cruz Memorial, 1927 Ocean St, Santa Cruz on Saturday, June 28, 2014. If you would like to send your condolences to Luke's family, share your memories, view or post photos, or light a candle, please visit

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