Dr. Georgina Y. Goodwin, a retired anesthesiologist and Postal Service medical director who was an activist for the addicted, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 27 at her residence at St. Elizabeth Hall in Timonium. She was 87.
She was born three months' premature at her parents' home in Queens, N.Y. Friends said that at her birth, she weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces. A midwife carried her in a shoe box to a hospital, where she spent three months in an incubator.
Her father was an oil company executive and her mother a concert pianist. She attended the Stuart Hall School and earned a bachelor's degree at Barnard College. In 1951, she received a medical degree from the State University of New York College of Medicine in New York City. She did a residency in anesthesiology at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
She moved to Baltimore in 1956 and worked in anesthesiology at Franklin Square Hospital, then located in West Baltimore. In 1974, she became a medical officer for the U.S. Post Office and worked throughout Maryland, parts of Delaware and Northern Virginia.
Friends said that Dr. Goodwin became addicted to alcohol and went into recovery in 1981. The next year she was invited to join the board of Tuerk House, a recovery program based in West Baltimore, and served on it until 2009.
"From the time of her recovery forward, there was never a day when she was not doing something for recovering alcoholics, either locally or in national programs," said a friend of many years, Lucy Howard, a retired University of Maryland School of Medicine research data manager who lives in Baltimore. "Being a physician herself, she could speak about recovery to other professionals in medicine or to other professions, such as the legal community."
She recalled that Dr. Goodwin was trusted within the recovery community.
"She was wonderful in keeping confidences," said Ms. Howard.
After joining the board of Tuerk House, she learned that one of its halfway houses for women faced closure on North Eutaw Street after losing its lease.
"She and I were the two women on the Tuerk House board, and we got busy with the real estate ads looking for a place where we could move the women's halfway house," said Ms. Howard. "We looked and looked, and finally found a place off the Alameda. We knew we had made a good choice when we spotted a car parked outside with a recovery slogan, a sticker that said, 'Easy Does It.' "
Dr. Goodwin then helped organize volunteers to clean and paint the house, known today as the Nilsson House.
"She was considered a wise elder in the extended Baltimore recovery community," said Rafael Alvarez, who recently published a book on Tuerk House.
"Young women were drawn to her in a grandmotherly way," Mr. Alvarez said. "They sought her no-nonsense counsel."
Another friend, real estate associate broker Richard J. Roszel, who lives in Cross Keys, recalled her as "warm and welcoming." He said she was discreet. "You could tell her anything, and it was like talking to the Sphinx," he said. "She could make people pay attention when discussing serious matters with her own light touch. She had an excellent sense of humor."
Dr. Goodwin was a reader who subscribed to numerous magazines, including Scientific American and the National Geographic. She also cooked and baked, making pies and cakes, occasionally in the shape of animals. She did not use cake mixes, friends said. They said she was well known for an Easter cake made in the shape of a lamb.
She enjoyed Baltimore restaurants and was a regular at Petit Louis in Roland Park, where she often ordered trout. At Sabatino's in Little Italy, she had capellini with an off-the-menu dish, a spicy red clam sauce with onions, known as the Barry sauce.
A movie fan, she attended weekly performances at the Charles. She had also traveled across the country and snorkeled with dolphins in Belize.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Church of Christ, 530 W. University Parkway.
Survivors include a brother, Jay Goodwin of Glenview, Ill.; and three sisters, Susan Pappas of Sewickley, Pa., Ann Goodwin of Ithaca, N.Y., and Pamela Goodwin of San Francisco.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times