Val and Bob Goodman named parade Grand Marshals

It seems to me that anyone who spends any time in Pagosa Springs sooner or later finds their way into Goodman’s Department Store, at the corner of Pagosa and 4th streets.

What a rich, rewarding and unique experience it is.

Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is hosting the famous Pagosa Springs Fourth of July Parade, and is pleased to announce our 2009 Grand Marshals: Val and Bob Goodman.

They will lead the parade, riding in a vintage restored, yellow stagecoach owned by Robert Lindner. Joining Val and Bob on the stagecoach will be Dorothy Goodman, (Bob’s mother) and Hayley Goodman, (Val and Bob’s youngest daughter).

Val and Bob Goodman are the fourth generation to own and operate Goodman’s Department Store. Started by Bob’s great grandparents, David and Fanny Lowenstein, the store in its existing location was originally known as “Lowenstein’s.” In 1899, the Lowensteins came to Pagosa with $500 and a dream of settling down and starting a business.

Bob’s grandmother, Hortense Lowenstein, took over the store in the 1940s. She needed a husband, and L.J. Goodman needed a job. The two married and ran the store for many years. Early on, whenever L.J. went to market, people always recognized him as “Lowenstein’s son-in-law.” Fed up with that, he returned from market one day and announced to his wife, Hortense, that they would be changing the name of the store to “Goodman’s.” It’s been Goodman’s Department Store ever since.

Dave took over the store in the mid ’40s and was joined by his wife, Dorothy, in 1953. Val and Bob took over in 1982.

Bob met Val one summer when Val was in Pagosa visiting her lifelong friend, Pam Day, who spent her summers at the Blue Spruce Ranch. Val was completely taken with Bob’s full head of curly hair, his dazzling smile, signature laugh, and sense of humor. Bob was smitten as well. The first date proved their compatibility.

They were married in 1982 and have been happily operating the store ever since.

They have two daughters who have graduated from college: Jordan and Hayley. Hayley is working in the store this summer along with Bob and Val’s wonderful staff — Janet Sorenson and Susie Montoya. Janet Sorenson has been a helpful and welcoming figure in the store for nearly 30 years. Susie Montoya’s familiar smile has greeted customers for 28 years.

Some of the store’s accounts, such as the one with Pendleton wools, date back to 1953. Even though Val and Bob have updated the store in many positive ways, it still has its own unique flavor and charm.

During the early to late 1900s, Goodman’s served as a trading post of sorts for the Jicarilla Apache tribe. Bob’s father and grandmother traded baskets for goods. The basket collection was removed and now is lovingly displayed in sister Louise Baltes’ home in Albuquerque. Her collection includes over 200 hand-woven baskets and various artifacts. Louise was so taken with the collection and Native American history that she wrote her college thesis on the subject.

Those of us who have lived in Pagosa for more than 30 years remember “Granny” and seeing the incredible collection of artifacts displayed at the store.

Bob’s grandmother, Hortense, or “Granny” as she was lovingly called, was a familiar site in the store working well into her 80s. Granny was also the first woman to drive a car over Wolf Creek Pass.

Val and Bob receive the high honor of Parade Grand Marshals this Fourth of July due, in part, to their exemplary community spirit.

Bob stepped up when the hospital district was in a desperate state of upheaval and needed a new, altruistic board. Because of Bob and the other hard working members of the board, we now have a beautiful hospital facility. As of January 2009, the Pagosa Mountain Hospital had served 5,000 patients.

Bob was involved in getting Pine Ridge Extended Care Center started. It was veryimportant to him that local, elderly people had a safe, pleasant place where they could be cared for and visited often.

Val and Bob are big supporters of the 4-H Club, as well as Habitat for Humanity. They also donated seven acres of land in town to Colorado Housing Inc.

Stop in and see the good folks at Goodman’s and congratulate Bob and Val. You will always get a friendly greeting that epitomizes the true Pagosa spirit. Watch for their smiling faces as they lead the 2009 Fourth of July Parade.

Photo courtesy Jann Pitcher
Val and Bob Goodman have been selected to serve as Grand Marshals at this year’s Fourth of July Parade. They will ride in a vintage yellow stagecoach owned by Robert Lindner. Joining Val and Bob on the stagecoach will be Dorothy Goodman (Bob’s mother) and Hayley Goodman, (Val and Bob’s youngest daughter).