Dr. Jesse Robinson Goodale III, lovingly known as “Bobby,” passed away Nov. 28, 2019 on Thanksgiving morning, at the age of 72.
Bobby was born to Jesse Robinson Goodale II and Mary Kase Lupton on Dec. 15, 1946. He was the third of five children and the eldest son. If you asked Bobby’s mother, “How did he get the nickname Bobby?” She would say, “It’s from his middle name, Robinson. It’s our family term of endearment!”
Bobby, a brilliant lifetime scholar, was the product of local public schools who graduated at the top of his class at Riverhead High School . He then attended Columbia University, where he would spend the next 30 years learning and eventually teaching.
After earning his B.A., M.A. and two Ph.Ds from Columbia University in political science and philosophy, Bobby went on to become a professor at some of the country’s most prestigious universities, including Columbia University, Texas A&I University, Barnard College, and Iowa State University.
He then returned to his hometown to work in his family business at Riverhead Building Supply. Years later when he met his wife Dhonna Goodale, Bobby realized, with his wife’s strong encouragement, that teaching was his true calling. She then suggested that he return to teaching college again and so in his later life, Bobby happily became an adjunct professor at Suffolk County Community College.
Bobby and his family are best known for founding of Riverhead Building Supply Corporation where he served as vice-president. He also served as chief financial officer of Goodale Productions.
Bobby truly epitomized community service. He served passionately on numerous boards, including serving as the chairman of United Way of Long Island’s East End Campaign Cabinet, Roberta Flack’s Charter School of Music, Riverhead Development Corporation, vice chairman of the Suffolk County Community College Foundation, chairman of the East End Health Alliance,. He served as chairman of the board of directors of Peconic Bay Medical Center and Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation board for a total of 20 years. He also served as vice chairman, treasurer and secretary of the hospital’s board of directors. He served as chairman of the boards of the Eastern Suffolk School of Music and the East End Arts Council and was a past president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. He was also a past chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission.
Bobby was also a preacher and deacon and supported his spiritual community by sitting on several boards at the Old Steeple Church. Folks always noted what a great singer he was in and out of the church.
Bobby and his wife Dhonna were part of the exchange student program with the Riverhead Rotary and other exchange programs. They have two adopted exchange student sons, an older son from Transylvania, Romania, Marius Garbor, who they have visited with annually, and also a son from Vietnam named Hein Nguyen.
Together, Bobby and Dhonna, created the Tara L. Stevens Memorial Scholarship and Domestic Violence Foundation. Over the years Bobby and Dhonna have created numerous Christmas programs for children in need.
Bobby met his wife Dhonna in 1995 and soon fell in love. They married Aug. 30, 1996. To this union, two sons were born: Jesse Robinson Goodale, IV (J.R.) in 1998 and Jared Wade-Douglas Goodale (J) in 2000. Jesse is now a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and Jared is now a senior at Full Sail University. The love Bobby and Dhonna shared over a lifetime is reflected in their renewal of vows four times over the course of their marriage, and they suggest everyone do that to rejuvenate their marriage. Bobby was a devoted father and excellent educator to his sons. He will always be the best friend and most loving husband his wife could ever ask God for.
He is survived by his wife Dhonna; sons, Jesse and Jared; godsons Gregory (Jackie) Goodale and Yosuef Goulbourne; adopted sons D.J. Kenter, Curtis Flippen, Andrew Messiah, Xander Shirley; best friends, Matt Heavy and Eugene Barrow; siblings and their partners, Russell, Edgar, Dianne, Carol, Cathy, Nancy, Ronan, and Bill; his aunt, Gene Goodale; as well as an abundance of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, nieces-in- law, nephews-in-law, cousins, friends, students, and a community that will always love and respect him and the legacy that lives on in his name. He is predeceased by his godson Keith Goodale and his sister-in-law Cathy Goodale.
A wake will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 3:30 to 9 p.m. at Living Water Full Gospel Church, 24 Shade tree Lane, Aquebogue.
A funeral service will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. at Old Steeple Community Church, 656 Route 25, Aquebogue. Interment will follow at Aquebogue Cemetery.
Repast on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. at Giorgio’s Caterers, 100 Fox Hill Drive, Baiting Hollow.
Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home, 406 East Main Street, Riverhead.