“The only reason we have for living is to make life less difficult for others," Goddard said in that 2007 interview. "Too many people are worried about going to some theme park in the sky.”
But if there is a Cedar Point in the sky, however, Goddard, who died today at 89 years old (or 623 dog years as he would have put it), certainly gained admission. The iconic Cleveland weatherman was well-known for his more than 55 years of soft-spoken, quirky weather forecasts and his kind, humorous way of being.
“He’s doing a job crucial to people’s lifestyle,” said former Plain Dealer TV critic Mark Dawidziak in a 2016 interview after Goddard's retirement. “There’s no getting around it. I think [current meteorologists] would all stop and tip their teleprompters to him.”
But in Cleveland, Goddard was just as famous as a champion for animal rights. Each Friday at 6 p.m., the "Goddard's Dogs" segment would feature six adoptable pups from the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, and he'd run telethons for the Cleveland Animal Protective League. One of his greatest accomplishments was passing "Goddard's Law," which increased animal cruelty punishments.
“I think he sees great nobility in the so-called lower animals because he doesn’t view them as lower,” said Dawidziak.
In addition to being an activist, the world's longest-running weatherman and a radio statistician for the Cleveland Browns, Goddard also launched the WoolyBear Festival, which would have celebrated its 48th event this year. Like Northeast Ohio's own version of Groundhog Day, the Summit County native launched the festival to honor the caterpillar whose stripes famously predict upcoming winters. The fall event now draws more than 100,000 people to Vermilion each year.
“It’s like this wonderful slice of Americana,” Dawidziak says. “You come together and unite under the banner of a woollybear. It’s a nice thing from a nice man.”
And while there might no more difficult job than predicting Cleveland's weather, Goddard, the consummate Clevelander, so loved Northeast Ohio he could even find a silver lining in our famously fickle skies.
“I wouldn’t trade our weather in summer for any city on earth," he told us in 2007.
Well Dick, we wouldn't trade our more than 50 years with you for any other weatherman on earth.
in the cle
12:30 PM EST
August 4, 2020