By KATE POSS
Special to The Record
Linda and Leonard Good, who created a lasting legacy of community, music and science, are leaving Whidbey Island — where they have lived since the 1960s — and moving to New York to be closer to family.
A street parade in their honor was hosted Saturday, May 20. Dozens of well-wishers and former students lined the street to bid the much-loved couple farewell.
A parade of drums and violins, guitars and banjos played the Swedish Walking Tune. The band of musicians began at Second Street and Anthes, walked up Second Street to the Langley Library, then serenaded folks at Good Cheer Thrift Store, and finally crowded in to the Moonraker Bookstore, where they greeted a long-time friend, Josh Hauser, owner of the Langley touchstone for more than 50 years.
“They have been a delight, a support to the community, and an example of people who care,” Hauser said in a phone call. “They’ve been an adornment to our lives.”
The parade finished up with Hawaiian music played by the Whidbey Ukulele Kanikapila band.
Janice Kato, who has led the Hawaiian-themed band since 2013, said, “Sad to see them go. We played one of Linda’s favorite songs, Hamabe No Uta, ‘song of the seashore.’ Then Linda had us all sing The Parting Glass. Linda used to come to our Kanikapila jam sessions … Linda and Leonard have left quite an impact on South Whidbey.”
The impact left by the Goods is seen in the hundreds of students who were taught to love music by Linda and to have fun with science by Leonard.
Following the parade, the Goods’ friends hosted a fare-thee-well gathering at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Freeland.
At the gathering, the running of Island Strings, a Suzuki-based music school which Linda Good, Linda Morris and Paula Pugh founded in 1974, was passed on to four women who will continue the school’s tradition.
Morris played the viola in the parade. She wrote in an email that the parade brought a flood of memories about the Goods, whom she considered to be “consummate teachers.”
“Linda never saw a musical instrument that she couldn’t teach and Leonard never made a ‘rocket’ that he couldn’t launch,” she wrote. “They were celebrated by hundreds of students, some young and some well into middle age by now, for their decades of dedication to the musical and intellectual development of their students.”
Morris wrote that she has known Linda and Leonard for 50 years.
“We’ve played music together in dozens, maybe hundreds of groups, shared a meal or a glass of their fresh squeezed apple cider, watched our families grow and mature, and so much more,” she wrote. “They are two unique and generous people and I will miss them very much.“
Talia Toni Marcus was hired as an Island Strings teacher in 1996 after Pugh retired from the team. That job offer is what brought the talented violinist to Whidbey Island from Los Angeles.
Marcus, Gloria Ferry Brennan and Cindy Albers, all violinists, will carry the school’s tradition forward as a teaching collective. Marcus explained that Aniela Perry, who plays cello, has just opened a string instrument repair shop and teaching studio in Freeland called “Tiny House of Strings” that will serve as the school’s center.
“We are moving lots of the Island Strings musical instruments to that location where they will be available for rental and sales,” Marcus wrote in an email. “We will continue Linda’s tradition of teaching group lessons, piano, strings, ukelele, guitar and miscellaneous world music instruments.”
Most everyone who has known the Goods inevitably came away loving music or knowing how to build rockets.
Susan Knickerbocker, a retired writer for South Whidbey Record, wrote the Hometown Heroes column for 25 years, and has published two books. The Goods are remembered in the first volume.
“Leonard and Linda Good are icons for this community to so many people,” Knickerbocker wrote in an email. “Linda has shared her gifts of music for thousands of people of every age. Leonard has put on the most interesting and inventive science classes for kids and adults. What they have gifted to us all is immeasurable. They role model so many values to all ages. The Goods were nominated to be written about more times than anyone could count.”
In a recent phone call, Linda Good said she is married 61 years to Leonard. The couple attended university in Des Moines, Iowa, and drove cross-country on a German-made Zunndapp motorcycle piloted by Leonard, with Linda riding behind him. They married in 1962.
“I grew up in Seattle and had a lot of relatives on South Whidbey and spent my summers with them,” Linda recalled. “At first we tried to find a place in Seattle, but found it was too expensive. We bought 10 acres on Whidbey.”
The couple began their life together with Linda teaching music and Leonard teaching science. One of the ways Leonard made science interesting was by building rockets. He taught students science at his home and rocket science for the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District for years.
“I’ve always been interested in model planes and model building,” Leonard explained in a 2017 article for This is Whidbey. “I wanted to do something that involves building something out of nothing.”
In following his something-for-nothing way of thinking, Leonard asked doctors to give him the cardboard tubes that came with the paper used to cover exam tables. Leonard collected the tubes and found them to be excellent bodies for his rocket-building classes.
South Whidbey Record photographer David Welton enjoyed flying model planes on Sundays with his friend Leonard and other flying enthusiasts. Welton said in the 2017 story, “I love Leonard.”
Leonard also taught photography classes in the old style with film and photo development in black and white prints. “None of this fancy stuff,” Leonard chuckled.
Jim Scullin, former president of Hearts & Hammers, describes the gratitude the Goods expressed when the community came together to help them. In 2017, the roof over a sunroom Leonard built was leaking. Linda asked Scullin to review a set of bids to make repairs. Scullin has served as president of Hearts & Hammers, a neighbor-helping-neighbor nonprofit organized by the late Lynn Willeford, which voluntarily repairs homes of folks who are unable or cannot afford to do the work themselves.
Scullin explained that the Goods were always focused on giving to others and were reluctant to ask others for help. Scullin and volunteers with Hearts & Hammers knew the couple couldn’t afford to put a new roof on their house though they needed one. When a roofer agreed to replace their leaking roof for free, it blew Linda and Leonard away.
“They repaired it for free,” Scullin said in an email. “Linda’s jaw hung open. My jaw hung open. The crew showed up and did the work … I’m flabbergasted by this show of kindness.”
During the gathering at the Universalist Unitarian Church, friends sang “I’m leaving on a jet plane” to the Goods, who are departing the island to live near their daughter Nancye in New York. They plan to leave after Memorial Day.