Charles Goodell Dies; Replaced Robert Kennedy in Senate

From Times Wire Services

Charles E. Goodell, who served a brief but stormy Senate term as the replacement for the slain Robert F. Kennedy, died Wednesday at age 60.

Goodell, who also served nine years in the House, suffered a heart attack Friday and died at George Washington University Hospital.

Goodell, a native of Jamestown, N.Y., was elected to the House in 1959. He became part of the “young Turk” movement that ousted Charles Halleck as Republican leader, replacing him with Gerald R. Ford, who went on to become President.


Goodell became chairman of the House Republican Planning and Research Committee. During that period, Richard M. Nixon described him as “the egghead of the Republican Party--a creative intellectual in the best sense of the word.”

Goodell played a major role in the passage of much of the Great Society legislation of the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration that went through the House Education and Labor Committee under the chairmanship of Adam Clayton Powell.

When Kennedy, a Democrat, was assassinated while campaigning for President in 1968, then-New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, a Republican, appointed Goodell to the Senate.

During the next two years, Goodell surprised his party by being among the first to oppose the Vietnam War. In a move many saw as emulation of the liberal Kennedy, Goodell became the first senator to propose legislation to cut off money for the war and call for a phased withdrawal of all troops. He also urged the immediate passage of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with the Soviet Union.

In 1970, Goodell lost the Senate seat to Conservative Party candidate James L. Buckley.

Goodell not only had to campaign against charges by state Republicans that he was too liberal but contend with criticism at the national level. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew called him a “radical liberal” who “has left his party” and “strayed beyond the point of no return.”

After his defeat, Goodell practiced law in New York City and later became chairman of the board of DGA International Inc., a firm that represents European companies bringing their technology to the United States.


In 1974-75, he headed a panel for President Ford that encouraged Vietnam-era deserters and draft evaders to seek amnesty.