Gene Goddess, who ran a Seattle business-consulting firm and helped coin the slogan "Oh Boy Oberto" for the famous local sausage maker...
Gene Goddess, who ran a Seattle business-consulting firm and helped coin the slogan “Oh Boy Oberto” for the famous local sausage maker, died at home Wednesday. He was 90.
Mr. Goddess, of Medina, died after a long battle with prostate cancer, said his son, Bob Goddess.
For as long as his children can remember, Mr. Goddess was the first to offer a kind word and sound advice for friends and relatives. The Eugene D. Goddess and Associates consulting firm often took clients regardless of their financial standing, Bob Goddess said.
“He was the type of man that if a company needed help he would go to work for them,” said Bob Goddess, who splits his time between Seattle and the Fiji Islands. “What inspired him was to help people. He was really one of those ‘love one another’ people.”
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Mr. Goddess’ firm advised Boeing, Group Health, Gai’s Northwest Bakery, Dunn Lumber, Aqua Quip Pool Supply, as well as Oberto Sausage Co., said Brian Quint, president of Aqua Quip.
“I think the thing that amazed me about Gene as much as anything is he evolved from a business consultant to a life coach,” Quint said. “He coached people of all generations through business challenges, career changes and relationship challenges. He just had a passion for people and wanted to help.”
Even this week, when Mr. Goddess struggled to even sip water from a straw, he offered advice to many of his visitors, his son said.
Mr. Goddess was born in Chicago in 1915, the younger of Joseph and Bertha Goddess’ two sons. Shortly after graduating from high school, Mr. Goddess moved to New York City, where he worked for numerous electronics companies.
In 1935, while working as a lifeguard in upstate New York, he met his future wife, Hazel Kinzler, when she bumped her head at the pool, said Lynn Goddess, of Manhattan, the couple’s daughter. The two eloped in August 1937, but when Ms. Kinzler’s father found out, he insisted on a more traditional wedding, so they married again in October of that year.
During their marriage, Mr. Goddess showered his wife with love letters and poetry. Bob Goddess said he can’t remember a time when he left his father’s presence without receiving a hug and a kiss and being told he was loved.
The couple moved to Medina in 1952 when Mr. Goddess was hired to work at Boeing. About six years later, he opened the consulting firm.
During his years consulting, Mr. Goddess became friends with Art Oberto and his family, as well as with families running other prominent local businesses. He walked into Oberto’s office one day suggesting the “Oh Boy Oberto” slogan; he also advised the Quint family when to hold sales, Brian Quint said.
“He was outside the box,” he said.
About four years ago, when Mr. Goddess was visiting his son in Fiji, he was upset that local schoolchildren didn’t have a library. He and his son helped raise $30,000 and built a school library. Mr. Goddess also started a Rotary Club on the South Pacific island, the son added.
Mr. Goddess was active in the University District Rotary Club and worked in several local schools, tutoring and helping young poets.
Shortly after his wife died in March 2000, the family started the Hazel K. Goddess Fund for Stroke Research in Women. Based in New York, the nonprofit organization is devoted to research, prevention, treatment, education and advocacy.
Mr. Goddess is survived by his son and daughter.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the stroke fund, 785 Park Ave., New York, NY 10021-3552.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org