Angela Goodwill (nee Skeens) obituary

Born 1946, died 2016. A graduate of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (BSc Zoology 1968).

Originally published in the Globe and Mail, written by Stacy Rush.

Wife, mother, scientist, teacher extraordinaire. Born Nov. 26, 1946, in Bristol, England; died Nov. 27, 2016, in Toronto of a stroke, aged 70.

Angela was an excellent and beloved teacher, someone who had a quiet determination about her, and treated everyone with both kindness and a sense of humour.

Angela was born in Bristol, England, in 1946. She attended the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, where she majored in zoology. At the university's Rag Ball, she met the love of her life, David Goodwill, then in his third year of engineering. They married in 1968 and emigrated to Canada a year later.

Angela's father, mother, grandfather and grandmother were all teachers, and two maiden aunts were headmistresses, so it surprised no one when she decided to become a teacher. It was in the genes.

She loved teaching, espousing the philosophy that, "the children of today are our hope for the future. They need to be properly prepared." Also, her deep Christian faith compelled her to help others whenever she could: "If we are Christians, how can we do less?" she said.

Shortly after moving to Canada, Angela started working as a science teacher at Central Technical School in Toronto. By 1972 she had her first son, and was required to stop working. Altogether the couple had three sons - Morgan, Alasdair and Daniel - and Angela stepped away from teaching to raise her children.

Around the time Daniel was 8, however, she ventured back into the classroom at McKee Public School in northern Toronto, all the while shuttling her sons to hockey games, soccer games and being heavily involved at her church. Her work as a volunteer teacher led to winning the North York "Volunteer of the Year Award" presented by then mayor Mel Lastman.

Angela took a full-time job teaching science at Bnei Akiva High School in Toronto. She would spend the next 25 years in this school, and became head of the science department.

I met Angela, or Mrs. Goodwill as I called her, near the end of her career as a Grade 11 student in 2005. She was the most inspiring teacher that I have ever had - not just for passing on a love of biology but also for demonstrating, with actions and words, the right way to act. She taught her students to treat all with kindness and respect - not just people, but all living organisms.

Mrs. Goodwill seriously deepened my love of biology, inspiring me to study it at York and Harvard.

Angela was also an extraordinarily skilled knitter and maker of handicrafts - creating beautiful clothing, glass ornaments, needlepoint for friends and relatives and, of course, for her beloved grandchildren - Connor, Ella, Lovisa, Marcus, Tess and Andrew. At 18-months-old, each grandchild received their own educational hand-crafted Granny Book.

At her funeral service, David said Angela often wondered if she had done enough with her life, if she had made a difference.

He thought the question moot.

Angela's dedication and deep love of science had inspired generations of her students to become doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, and, of course, teachers.

A person lives on through those they have touched. Angela touched me, her family, and hundreds of her students; we carry the lessons and inspiration she gave us now, and always.

Stacy Rush was one of Angela's students. Dr. David Goodwill is Angela's husband.