Extension of Remarks
Representative Lynn Woolsey
September 13, 2006
Mr.Speaker, I rise today to honor William Oskar Goggins for the kindness and influence he showed the world during his 43 years here.
Billy was born at St Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco, CA on Sunday, May 10, 1963 – on Mother’s Day. He was the first child of Patrick & Ute Goggins, both very well-known and respected individuals in the Bay Area and beyond.
From the hospital he was carried right into a civil rights demonstration in Golden Gate Park. Billy took his first trip to Ireland at 4 years old to meet his family relatives in the west of Ireland in County Mayo. Annual family trips by car to Montana & Dakota included reunions in the Bear’s Paw Mountains, hi-balling on the Iron Road, the old Great Northern Railway and running brave with Chippewa, Cree, Blackfoot and Sioux Indian friends. The Goggins’ adventured on two-month road trips to Baja and the Pacific Coast of Mexico where mother Ute painted, and sisters Cathy & Aimee followed in Bill’s energetic footsteps. Billy toiled in family vineyards in Germany with equally embracing relatives. These things were the soul of his education.
Over the years Bill played soccer, drew cartoons, tutored younger students from Mill Valley and Marin City, played volleyball at Stinson Beach, surfed in Bolinas, and much much more. He graduated from Tamalpais High School as a National Merit Scholar and Salutatorian.
Summer jobs were at Bancroft-Whitney legal publishers, San Francisco and Wausau Paper Mill, Wisconsin. He worked at numerous restaurants including the Book Depot Café and Avenue Grill in Mill Valley, and Embarko in San Francisco. He also volunteered at St Anthony Dining Room in the Tenderloin, providing free meals for the homeless.
Bill attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and San Francisco State University, Departments of Communication and Philosophy. He began his vital journalism career with Frisko Kids, KALW radio, and then moved on to the old SF Weekly.
Former SF Weekly editor and colleague Andrew O’Hehir remembers, “Of course he worked harder than anyone and became essential, and in three years moved from all-purpose intern to copy editor to running the Arts & Entertainment section. I can’t remember exactly when he became the go-to guy for headline copy, but I’d say that by the time he’d been there a year, he was writing half the heads in the paper.”
Bill thrived at Wired for 10 years. He started as a freelance copy editor and rose to become deputy editor. Bill served as a special link between the digital industry’s pace-setting magazine in the center of San Francisco’s media gulch and an eager, educated national and international readership. His colleagues admired him tremendously.
“Bill was that rarest of things: a true original,” says Chris Anderson, the magazine’s editor in chief. “He was brilliant, witty and culturally omnivorous, all of which combined in his signature headlines. They usually worked on at least three levels of meaning, from some remixed cultural reference to at least one pun. In many ways his winking style and clever turns of phrase became Wired house style for nearly a decade, and to look at our covers and headlines over those years is to hear Bill’s voice again.”
Bill’s voice also made its mark through the alternative dot-com generation’s website Suck.com where he wrote under the name ‘Bartelby’. Bill recently enjoyed writing and editing with the new magazine Todo, and they remember him not just as a logophile, a wordsmith, a gifted editor, a true friend; but also as “one who tirelessly pursues perfection, fraternity and goodness.”
A real linguist (German, Spanish & Bill-English) and traveler – Bill visited Tunisia, the Philippines, Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, and all over the United States and Europe. He was a dual citizen of the US and Ireland. Bill was a citizen of the world.
Bill was a San Franciscan through and through. He openly embraced and explored all of the city’s neighborhoods. He was an avid supporter of the arts, with active memberships to many museums and regular attendance at the symphony, opera, ballet, varied theatres and clubs.
Bill participated with his family and compatriots in the antiwar demonstrations from the Vietnam era to Iraq of today.
My daughter, Amy Critchett, had the good fortune to be a friend with and to work with Bill at Wired for many years. “Bill Goggins made work seem like work - because it was and he was so incredibly good at what he did - but with him around there was always a twist of irony and a splash of curly-haired, smiling-cheeked sunshine not far away,” according to Amy. “Get ready to laugh all you up there.”
Bill inexplicably collapsed and passed away suddenly during mile 24 of the San Francisco Marathon Benefit for Cancer on Sunday, July 30, 2006. He was in fit condition and many knew him as a wonderful, companionable runner, reconciled, strong and happy.
An outpouring of hundreds from around the globe, representing family, friends, colleagues, public officials on local, state and national levels, ambassadors, the Irish & British governments, the Democratic party, and diverse cultural non-profit organizations attended a memorial mass held at our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and a life celebration at the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley on August 4, 2006.
Billy was a deeply loved member of a very close family. He supported all of them individually and together – helping hang his mother Ute’s art shows, assisting his father Pat with community outreach via organizations such as the Irish Forum, Irish Mexican Association, and Irish Literary & Historical Society to name a few, being the proud uncle to sister Cathy’s two children, Lina Rose & Dominic Chester, and showing up for sister Aimee’s various work events or helping edit her writing.
Bill believed in justice, peace and humanity. He connected with people everywhere he went. No one and nothing escaped his keen eye and warm words. His sense of community was broad and all-encompassing. Bill was a man of grace. He chipped in for everyone.
He had old-fashioned manners, was a staunch listener and he gave of himself enormously. His roughish grin, sparkle in his eye and love of discussion and opinion will live on with us forever.
Mr. Speaker, Bill had enormous integrity and loyalty, and taught us all how to be total human beings. To be fearless, to be bold, to be true to yourself. To be both gracious and outspoken. To pursue what matters in life and cherish each other. Bill knew all of these things and helped us be them too. Bill lived his life and made all of us proud. He will be deeply missed by many.
To view the online version of the official Congressional Record go to: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?position=all&page=E1657&dbname=2006_record
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