Patricia A. Goldman, a Sussex County native who held top staff posts under Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and then as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board for nine years, died of viral pneumonia on July 26. She was 81.
President Jimmy Carter nominated her to fill a vacant seat on the NTSB in 1979 and was renominated for a full term by President Ronald Reagan. She served as vice chair and acting chair.
Goldman was a proponent of child safety seats and was short-listed for U.S. Secretary of Transportation in 1988 when Elizabeth Dole stepped down to help her husband’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
She later became a top executive at U.S. Air and served on numerous boards and panels.
Goldman began working on Capitol Hill as a research assistant for the Joint Economic Committee in 1964 and then spent two years as a legislative assistant to a House Education and Labor subcommittee tackling poverty issues.
She served as director of manpower and poverty programs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as legislative director of the National League of Cities
In the mid-1970s, Goldman served as executive director of the Wednesday Group, a caucus of moderate Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. She formerly chaired the Ripon Society, a liberal Republican group
She chaired the Republican task force for the Women’s Political Caucus and actively supported the passage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Goldman served as President of WISH List, a group that backed pro-choice Republican candidates.
In 1978, Goldman married Charles Goodell, a former Republican U.S. Senator and congressman from New York. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller appointed Goodell to the Senate following the assassination of Democrat Robert F. Kennedy in 1978. He lost his bid for a full term in 1970 to James L. Buckley, the Conservative Party candidate; Buckley won 39%, followed by Democrat Richard Ottinger (37%) and Goodell (24%). Goodell died in 1987 at age 60.
Goldman, who grew up in Newton, was a 1964 graduate of Goucher College.
She is survived by her second husband, Stephen Kurzman, who served as Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under resident Richard Nixon and as an aide to U.S. Senator Jacob Javits. She is also survived by her seven step-sons, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and their families.
Funeral services were held on July 30 at Temple Micah in Washington. D.C.