Most Interesting People: Dick Goddard


Age • 76 (532 dog years or 24 degrees Celsius, as Goddard likes to say)

Why he’s interesting • He joined the Air Force during the Korean War, took a skills-assessment test and was told he would do well as either a sharpshooter or a meteorologist. “Is that, like, weather?” Goddard remembers asking. He’s since become a Cleveland legend, joking that his Fox 8 forecasts can “infuriate people in 34 counties in three minutes.” Through his animal-adoption program, he’s helped find homes for thousands of dogs and cats.

Fast forward • He was one of six meteorologists chosen to monitor the wind pattern March 1, 1954, as Edward Teller and the United States tested the H-bomb in the Pacific Islands. It was 5:55 a.m., and Goddard and crew were waiting, wondering what they would see from their post many miles away. “When they let that baby go, it went from pitch black to high noon in a nanosecond.”

Original ambition • Cartooning. Goddard, who graduated from Kent State University with a degree in fine arts in 1960, included many of his drawings in his book “Dick Goddard’s Weather Guide and Almanac.”

On his shelf • Goddard owns thousands of books. His favorite is the 11-volume “The Story of Civilization” by Will and Ariel Durant.

Best weather in the world • San Diego. However, Goddard says Clevelanders should be grateful for what we have — glorious summers. “I wouldn’t trade our weather in summer for any city on earth.”

His philosophy • Goddard used to sing in the choir — literally. Life has taught him, however, to be wary of religious fervor. “The only reason we have for living is to make life less difficult for others. Too many people are worried about going to some theme park in the sky.”
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