In Memoriam: H. Grant Goodell, Instrumental in Growth of U.Va.’s Environmental Sciences Department, Has Died

H. Grant Goodell, professor emeritus and former chair of the University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Sciences, died Dec. 19. He was 88.

After serving in the Korean War as a Navy pilot, for which he received a Purple Heart, Goodell earned a B.S. in geology at Southern Methodist University and a Ph.D. in geophysics at Northwestern University.

He began his academic career at Florida State University and joined U.Va.’s newly formed Department of Environmental Sciences in 1970, becoming its chair a year later – a post he held for eight years.

Patricia Wiberg, professor and current chair of Environmental Sciences, said, “At the time environmental sciences was created in 1969 (merging the former geology and geography departments), the department had only eight faculty and few undergraduate or graduate students. When Grant stepped down as chair, the department had grown to 24 faculty and had been home to more than 150 majors and 80 graduate students.”

Goodell’s research focused on groundwater geology and marine resource management. He created an interdisciplinary program in marine affairs in 1979 that drew from the schools of Law, Engineering and Applied Science, Architecture and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, a program he ran for almost 20 years.

He sat on more than 100 dissertation committees, published extensively in his field and served on many scientific committees and boards relating to geology and the environment. Goodell retired in January 1998, although he remained active at the University for some years afterward as professor emeritus.

In 1973 he was awarded the President’s and Visitors’ Research Prize in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

In 1990, Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder appointed him to a joint legislative subcommittee to study the impact of oil and gas drilling on the Chesapeake Bay. Beginning in 1995, he served a four-year term on the Virginia Marine Resource Commission.

In addition to academia, aviation and his family, he loved horses and carpentry. In 1976, he purchased 16 acres of land just outside Charlottesville where he eventually designed and constructed a solar house, a barn and miles of fence line. Five years later, the family moved into the house, where he stayed for the remainder of his life.

Goodell is survived by one sister, three children and five grandchildren. He was interred at Arlington Cemetery with full military honors.

Charlottesville Daily Progress obituary

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