NORMAN — Services are planned for 10 a.m. Monday at Havenbrook Funeral Home for longtime Norman businessman, entrepreneur and real estate developer Ivan E. Goodman.
Goodman, 88, died Wednesday in Norman.
“In his later years he slowed down a little, but just when you thought he was done, he developed and built a strip center on North Porter at age 83,” said his son, Brad Goodman.
He built several residential and commercial buildings in Norman and Noble, beginning with the center south of Norman High School in the late 1960s when he was working as a supervisor at OU’s Physical Plant.
He retired from OU in 1972 after working there for 24 years. He got a real estate license and began buying distressed and foreclosed commercial properties, doing must of the remodeling work himself.
“He was always looking for the next project,” Brad Goodman said. “He loved Norman and he loved Oklahoma.”
Born in 1924 and raised during the Great Depression on a dairy farm near Ada, Goodman enjoyed several careers. He began as a newspaper carrier in Ada, delivering newspapers on a bicycle he bought on the installment plan from Sears.
He then bought additional bicycles and let others ride them if they delivered his papers. He later repaired bicycles and bought and sold quantities of goods.
After high school, he learned to weld and worked in the shipyards rebuilding the U.S. Navy fleet destroyed at Pearl Harbor. He joined the Army and served in World War II.
Goodman moved to Norman and married Betty Miller in 1946. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2011. Other survivors, besides Brad, include a son, Brian Goodman and his companion Suzi Newkumet, a granddaughter Angela Goodman and husband Aaron Jennings.
He opened an appliance repair business on Main Street and became skilled at rebuilding motors for appliances. OU contracted with him to repair refrigeration units and later hired him to help plan and install air conditioning in campus buildings.
His family said he had other interests in addition to real estate construction and investment. “He owned a furniture store on Main Street for a time in the 70s,” Brad Goodman said. “For many years, Ivan would make the rounds to the pawn shops in Norman buying anything that was a bargain. Ivan also liked to buy in bulk. Like the time he bought a semi load of Lazy Boy recliners. Ivan also bought a semi load of men’s dress shirts. He also bought out a western wear store.”
His family within the last month finished remodeling two Main Street properties. “He lived long enough to see downtown flourish again,” Brad Goodman said.
“Norman and Oklahoma has lost an endearing character in its colorful past,” Brad goodman said. “Ivan Goodman was truly a member of the Greatest Generation which unfortunately is quickly leaving us.”