William Drayton Goodrum ’49

 William departed this life on September 20, 2015, at the age of 87 years. Born in Mooresville, North Carolina, he was preceded in death by his father William Goodrum and his mother, Carrie Lee (Spradley) Goodrum. William was their only child. He deeply loved and admired his father, who as a doughboy fought in the trenches of France during World War I under the command of Captain Charles Drayton of Charleston, South Carolina, Company H, 323rd Infantry Regiment. William’s middle name, Drayton, was given to him in honor of Captain Drayton.
William lived in and out of Louisiana since 1958 and resided in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans since 1989.
William grew up in Cornelius, North Carolina, graduating from Davidson High School in June of 1945. He furthered his education and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Davidson College. He continued his education and received a Master of Arts degree from Duke University and a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Duke University. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He studied at the Goethe Institute, Munich, Germany; Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; Tuebingen University in Tuebingen, Germany. He studied in Graz, Austria.
He was a scholar fascinated with linguistics. He was fluent in German. He studied French, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. He loved reading the French poets. He was a Germanophile. He held the opinion that the greatest writer of the German language was Freidrich Nietzsche. He loved reading the literature of Thomas Mann and that of his children, Klaus and Erica Mann. Hermann Hesse was a favorite.
His late discovery was the fascinating literature of Elias Canetti. He loved Southern American writers, Eudora Welty and Thomas Wolfe being favorites. His first teaching assignment was at the Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut.
He loved to tell the story that as a Southerner, he had his first mint julep especially prepared for him by the dean of a Northern school. He was an educator and taught in many schools. He was an assistant professor at McNeese State College, Lake Charles, Louisiana. Some of his published articles appeared in the McNeese Review including: “Ecclesiastes in Goethe’s Faust” and “Bertolt Brecht and the Bible.”
He was an instructor at Louisiana State University in New Orleans and prior to that was an assistant professor at Auburn Community College in Auburn, New York. He was a private tutor in German. Being a scholar, he enjoyed layman lecturing on the Dead Sea Scrolls which he had studied first hand. He loved translating German into English and helped many writers with articles, including Mary Lou Widmer of New Orleans.
William enjoyed travel to Europe and spent leisure time in France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Ireland and held a special love for Italy. William’s favorite place was the State of North Carolina.
William is survived by his first cousin Barry Garrison and his wife Barbara and their children and grandchildren of Charlotte, North Carolina; his first cousin Miss Jean Caldwell of Cornelius, North Carolina; Jan Dingler, the wife of his late first cousin, Jim Dingler of Palo Alto, California and their children and grandchildren; his friends Fred Eudy, Jim Keesee and Bryon Thorn of Charlotte, North Carolina.
He had many friends at Big Daddy’s where he was known as Gertrude, a nom de plume and moniker. He so enjoyed their company where he was loved by everyone and where he bonded deeply with Juanita. He loved his friends Tim Morgan and Steve Meroz. Former students around the country will remember and miss him. Rose Preston and Woof and Ruff miss him dearly as does Jim Cleveland.
He is also survived by Clayton A. Gould, a friend of almost six decades who was his devoted care-giver. Clayton wishes to thank the staff and aides at Hainkel Home who tended to him with love and concern for the last six months of his life. He made new friends there, Anna, Cyril and Miss Pat. He loved being in the beautiful garden interacting with them. Deep gratitude to the palliative care he received at Ochsner Baptist Hospital and to the staff of Passages Hospice where he spent the last day of his life.
Heritage Funeral Directors, 4101 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans LA 70117 is in charge of funeral arrangements.
A memorial remembrance will be held at a date to be announced. Burial will be private in Cornelius, North Carolina. Donations in his memory can be sent to Davidson College, his alma mater, located at 405 N. Main Street, Davison, NC 28035.
Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10, 2015