ARE Cooperative Extension Specialist Emeritus George Goldman, 1935-2018

June 19, 2018

A celebration of George's life will be held July 7th, 2018, 2:00-5:00pm at the Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley.  

Reflections about George from colleagues and friends:

"...he never lost his sense of humor or his interest in practically everything under the sun. I know that I'll miss my conversations with him about regional economics, military intelligence, music, and a dozen other topics. --J. Keith Gilless

"George Goldman was a warm, friendly scholar. He cared about all the members of our department, immigrants to our area, and the world in general. Government around the state relied heavily on his analyses of the effects of government policies and other shocks on their communities. When he retired, the loss of his modeling abilities to the state was seen as a major problem. He will be greatly missed."--Jeff Perloff

"George had an outsized influence on me and on California.  I sought out Jerry Siebert so I could find a real agricultural economics problem.  We traveled the state and talked to coop ext people all through the valley.  What we heard was the local impact analysis and land use planning were the big problems the counties needed help with.  And I so wanted to work on some interesting thing having to do with cotton or dairy or grapes.  So I came home and started talking more seriously with George.  By the time it was all done, our forays into impact analysis had become a California CGE that convinced Gov. Wilson that tax cuts paying for themselves was a bunch of hooey.  The project then morphed into an analysis of greenhouse gas policy and led to key testimony for California in the defense of its vehicle standards.  In a completely different direction, George heard that the Legislature wanted an analysis of its recycling program.  We did it and they followed our recommendations and raised the CRV on cans and bottles to four cents and then a nickel.  Today there is a Goldman prize for the most distorted impact analysis.  George is the hero of the sane and the sworn enemy of the economic huckster.  We miss George terribly, already."-- Peter Berck

"I will miss George and his wisdom and kindness. He always took the time to say, “Hello,” and to share a story. My memories of George are fond, and my heart goes out to his family."--Angie Erickson

"...his interests were vast and he loved extending his knowledge and sharing his findings. When I joined [ARE] he would often come to my third floor office with coffee, ask how I was adapting to Giannini and ARE, back in 2002. He loved chatting! One of his last emails illustrating how he was always willing to let us benefit from his discoveries 'Are you interested in the UC pension information I've been looking into? Or are you too young? George' "--Sofia Villas-Boas

"I too am saddened by the news. He was a model for an effective extension economist, and a key asset to  faculty in our department, as others have noted so eloquently that I can add little. He was also a great citizen of Berkeley and of California - he knew everyone and took pains to make visitors feel at home here. He will be missed in the department, in the college, in Berkeley and in the state. A wonderful man."--Brian Wright

"I was saddened to learn about George passing. He was incredibly effective- when I started as a graduate student he helped arrange the connection that led to my research on animal waste, my dissertation, and my career. Traveling with him to Southern California and working with him I learned to appreciate his mastery of statistics and quantitative tool, his capacity to problem solve, and his modesty. He was as well-known as anyone in our group within the state, and people trusted him and trusted his judgment.  He was considered to become the director of the drainage program in the 1980 and had much impact on the state resources allocation plans. He was immensely helpful when I studied the impact of extension, and all of the people in the system trusted him to tell their story honestly. I miss George already."--David Zilberman

"George was a real Mensch. I arrived on campus and there was no office for me. I was working on the library couch until Betty found out. George had just retired and and she made him move out that day. Anyone would have been incredibly pissed off at the newcomer. Also, George hoarded California ephemera, so the office and closets were packed to the ceiling. He stopped by after I had moved in and we started chatting. He was a kind, generous, smart, funny, and caring human being. 
For example, he found out that I had never swung a baseball bat. He picked me up after work and we drove to Vallejo to the batting cages. He showed me how to swing the bat and I actually hit a few balls. He took me to his house, where he introduced me to Meyer lemons. This was special, since my mom's maiden name is Meyer. We ended up planting a tree in our backyard. He also invested in Netflix early and held on to his stock when everyone thought they were going to go under. But he loved movies (in fact I have never met anyone with a more encyclopedic knowledge of movies in my life) and thought that they would make it. And boy did they. He also taught me that Peet's makes the best ground coffee and that I should keep it in the freezer. He also gifted me a pile of punchcards, which to this day I hand to graduate students, when they whine about how hard life is. He told me to go on the ag tour, which I did and to this day was one of the more memorable field trips I have taken in my life.  He cared deeply about his family and friends and he will be missed."
-- Max Auffhammer

If you'd like to learn more about George, an oral history of George's life was recorded in 2015 by the The Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project.  

Rest in peace George.