December 5, 2003


Thank you, Alice, for your many contributions to Del Mar

By Lynn Gaylord

Last Sunday afternoon on November 30 there was a wonderful coming together at the Powerhouse of the Del Mar community to celebrate the life of Alice Goodkind who recently passed away on November 14, 2003, from her battle with breast cancer. Alice and her physicist husband, John, have been residents of Del Mar since they moved here in the late 1960's when John joined the faculty at UCSD.

It was such a special gathering because there were people from all political persuasions and backgrounds but who had one thing in common: an incredible respect and love for Alice and all the contributions she has made to making Del Mar what it is today.

Alice was born November 24, 1940, and grew up in the Bay area. While in college she was playing violin professionally for the Oakland Symphony. She was also playing chamber music with a circle of friends and that is where she met fellow musician and soon to be love-of-her-life, John. They were married on September 7, 1963, and moved first to Solana Beach and then to Del Mar.

On October 29, 1967 she gave birth to their first child, Hilary. Their son, Lane, was born on February 14, 1969. Her husband John proudly states, "She was an unusually attentive, loving and clever mother and frequently included neighbor children in the activities and outings she organized." Many of the friends speaking of Alice at the ceremony on Sunday spoke of her open door policy with all the neighborhood children. Alice's home was always a refuge for stray dogs, abandoned box turtles, and many other creatures.

Soon after the children were born, she returned to playing her violin professionally again, this time in the San Diego Symphony. When the San Diego Opera was formed she joined that orchestra as well. At one time in the 70's, she was chosen by the music director of the symphony to solo with another member of the orchestra in a Vivaldi concerto for two violins. She also performed with chamber music groups in a variety of San Diego venues. Alice retired from the symphony in 1997 due to her first bout with cancer. She continued in the opera orchestra until 2001.

Ever the eager student, Alice developed an interest in local history and researched county records for documents and photographs of old Del Mar. In the 1970's she became a founding member of the Del Mar Historical Society. Many of her interviews of long time residents can be found in Nancy Ewing's book "Del Mar Looking Back."

When friends spoke of Alice on Sunday, many commented on her unending dedication to preserving our environment. In 1986 Alice formed the "Friends of the San Dieguito River Valley" as a non-profit organization. She served as president and editor of its periodic newsletter "Valley Alert" for over a decade. As a community leader in the effort, she read voluminous environmental impact reports and traveled to meetings of the Coastal Commission and the various government agencies in San Diego county. She overcame a natural shyness and reticence to speak bravely and with passion at public meetings.

Many will remember her satirical commentaries in the Del Mar Citizen under the pseudonym, Myrtle Muelson. "Myrtle played the role of a bemused little old lady trying to understand the sometimes obtuse pro-development arguments," says husband John. She joined several other determined citizens to defeat "Proposition C" in 1994 which they felt would have provided a blank check to developers in a then wild part of San Diego county.

Alice's last career in a life of many was a return to her artistic talents. Starting in the late 90's she became a prolific watercolor painter. Her paintings were exhibited and sold at the San Diego Water Color Society where she won many awards. Locally it was easy to find Alice's work at the Del Mar Art Center and all around town. Her favorite subjects were wildlife, the San Dieguito River Park, our beaches, and images from downtown Del Mar including the Powerhouse.

I first met Alice in December of 1999 when we sent the word out that The Del Mar Foundation wanted to start a Cultural Arts Committee to see if we could fill this beautiful new Powerhouse with concerts and lectures. She was there at the first meeting and I will never forget her enthusiasm to have quality performers brought to Del Mar. Her knowledge of the various selections which performers would play was invaluable. She would say, "This piece is way too long that they have suggested playing. Let me talk to them." Inevitably, that evening's performance would go like clockwork and end with thunderous applause. Her beautiful watercolors of the Del Mar Powerhouse were proudly displayed on the covers of the programs for the "First Thursdays" concerts and lectures as well. We will all miss her dearly. Thank you, Alice, for your many contributions to Del Mar.

(Note: thanks to John Goodkind for information used in this article)

Anyone wishing to make a contribution in honor of Alice may send a donation to the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, P.O. Box 89, Del Mar, CA 92014