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Wayne Goode: father of UMSL, longtime state legislator dies

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Wayne Goode

Wayne Goode 

Students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis touch the Wayne Goode statue on campus to bring them good luck. Campus tradition also calls for fitting the statue with various T-shirts promoting the Tritons. Since its installation in 2006, the smiling statue has become the meeting place at the university that Goode helped create during a long career in public service.

The former state legislator and member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators died Saturday of leukemia at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was 83.

P. Wayne Goode grew up and attended public schools in Normandy. He went on to represent north St. Louis County for 42 years as a Democrat in the Missouri House (1963 to 1984) and Senate (1984 to 2005).

Goode’s passion for education policy gave him a reputation as the state’s leading (and perhaps only) expert in the state funding formula for schools, which he helped write. His other legislative priorities included the environment, health care and consumer protections. He sponsored bills that led to the state’s first hazardous waste disposal law and campaign finance reform, among others.

When not serving in Jefferson City, Goode worked for his father’s Be-Mac regional trucking company. He also ran his own Peterbilt truck dealership for nearly 20 years before selling it in 1991.

In the 1970s, Goode was a supporter of the small but growing number of women legislators, according to Betty Van Uum, the first woman elected to the St. Louis County Council.

“To me, Wayne was both a friend and a hero,” Van Uum said. “I’ve known him for virtually all my life and he was a person of great intelligence and integrity.”

Goode graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1960 and won his first election to state office three years later. One of his first pieces of legislation allowed the University of Missouri to acquire the old Bellerive golf course in Normandy to establish UMSL.

After his retirement from the Legislature, Goode served on the University of Missouri’s Board of Curators from 2009 to 2014.

“What happens to St. Louis, whether we have an educated workforce and are able to maintain a good quality of life really depends on UMSL as the primary supplier of that workforce,” Van Uum said. “Wayne never lost sight of that.”

Goode also served on boards including the Missouri Historical Society, Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, the L-A-D Foundation, Trailnet and the Missouri Foundation for Health. He received the Thomas Jefferson Award from the historical society in 2019.

Goode is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jane; two sisters, Linda Wilson of Town and Country and Nora Casey of Chesterfield; a son, Peter W. Goode III of Webster Groves; a daughter, Jennie Goode of Seattle; and two grandchildren. The family suggests donations to the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center and the Missouri Historical Society in lieu of flowers. A private burial service will be held at Bellefontaine Cemetery, at a gravesite Goode chose for its proximity to the explorer William Clark. A public memorial celebration is planned for 2021.

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