Living every day to the fullest

Farmer’s market coordinator is remembered for her love of life and mischievous nature

Marilyn Goodman enjoys a treat during the Camas Farmer’s Market in 2013. She served as the coordinator until her passing earlier this month.

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“She was just a gigantic beam of sunlight with a big ol’ smile. She was a beautiful soul.” — Bryan Goodman

Memorial for Marilyn Goodman

The executive board of the Camas Farmer’s Market is planning a memorial to honor Marilyn Goodman this Wednesday at the market. A reception will follow at Journey Community Church, 304 N.E. Fourth Ave. Attendees are asked to wear bright colors.

Schedule of events -

3 p.m.: Photo books for Goodman’s family will be available to sign.

5:45 p.m.: Balloons can be signed for a group release.

6:15 p.m.: Brief celebration of Goodman’s life and balloon release in the middle of the market

6:45 p.m.: Reception begins at Journey Church.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, Goodman requested donations be made to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and Southwest Washington, Children’s Home Society in Washougal and the Camas Farmer’s Market.

“Never give up.”

Marilyn Goodman lived by that statement. The Camas resident battled ovarian cancer for 10 years, enduring several reoccurrences and experimental therapies before the disease took her life on Aug. 15.

“She fought this until the very last moment,” said sister Lauren Pettit.

On Thursday, Aug. 14, the 44-year-old took one last stand when she walked into the Kaiser Interstate chemotherapy room with her husband, Bryan Goodman and Pettit.

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Marilyn Goodman loved spending time with her son, Jhestin. Here, they share a silly moment during a holiday party.

“The physicians had told her there was no more sense in fighting it,” Bryan said. “But Marilyn thought about that and came to the conclusion that if she bought into what they were saying, she would be giving up.”

The week preceding the appointment, Pettit, who had been at her sister’s side throughout her illness, asked her to reconsider.

“I told her, ‘You don’t have to do this.’ She told me, ‘I do have to. I don’t want to die, I want to live.’

She passed the next day, surrounded by her family.

Marilyn, who served as the Camas Farmer’s Market coordinator for three seasons, kept her struggle private from most people. She didn’t care for the attention that it brought.

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Goodman was known for her love of adventure and family. Here, she and husband Bryan try out some surfboards while on their honeymoon in Maui.

“She battled this disease with full force, enduring countless reoccurrences, chemotherapies, radiation, experimental treatments and she battled it on her terms,” explained Bryan. “She did this because she loved life. She loved her baby Jhestin and (step) kids, Keenan, John, Erika and Bryan. She loved her family and friends, and we had such a deep love and respect for one another that there was no other alternative for Marilyn.”

Marilyn and Bryan met through a mutual friend in 2003. They clicked immediately.

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Goodman and husband Bryan celebrate daughter Erika’s college graduation from Oregon State University on June 14. Marilyn passed away following a long fight with ovarian cancer on Aug. 15.

“We had similar interests, similar experiences growing up in Oregon and we both graduated from the University of Oregon,” he said. “I was attracted to her infectious smile, passion for life, love of children and love of her community. She was a giver that was easy to give back to and this lead to a very strong friendship and love building between us.”

By mid 2004, they were talking seriously about their future together. Marilyn had always wanted children but first, thought she should find out if she was in good medical condition to do so. It was after that appointment that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“We were both devastated, however, it was Stage 1C, which resulted in a 90 percent chance of no reoccurrence,” Bryan said. “She had the surgery and the chemotherapy, and by December 2004, she had started a new life, and focused on adoption as a path to finally enjoy her own baby boy.”

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Goodman is remembered for her passion and commitment to the farmer’s market and all of its patrons.

In 2006, she adopted a son, Jhestin, from Guatemala when he was just 20 weeks old.

“She had found her calling as she was a fantastic mom,” Bryan recalled.

She also thought of Bryan’s four children as her own and wanted to be there as long as she possibly could for them.

An example of Marilyn’s deep commitment to family was her decision to go on a vacation to Wallowa Lake in late July. She’d just endured a three-week chemotherapy trial, but didn’t want to miss out.

“She got out a paddle board and took it out half a mile, and then the entire way back against a 30 mph wind,” Brad said. “I was worried about her, and you could tell it took a lot out of her to do it, but she didn’t want it any other way.”

Three days after one of her last treatments on July 24, Marilyn was determined to fulfill what would become her last commitment: Seeing stepdaughter Erika get married.

“She really wanted to make it to that wedding,” Bryan said. “She made it through the entire ceremony and danced at the reception until after midnight. You would never realize she had cancer. She lived life to the fullest.”

When asked to describe Marilyn to someone who didn’t know her, Bryan paused, took a deep breath and choked back tears.

“She was just a gigantic beam of sunlight with a big ol’ smile,” he said. “She was a beautiful soul.”

Marilyn also loved music and adventure: During their 11 years together, she and Bryan attended many rock concerts and shows, everything from Billy Idol and Collective Soul to local garage bands.

“We also traveled a lot,” Bryan said. “She loved sun, sand and everywhere in between.”

A ‘goofy’ side

In addition to her adventurous and giving side, Marilyn also had a mischievous streak, Pettit noted.

“Marilyn was a bit of a brat when she was younger,” she said, chuckling. “She loved to be mischievous and wreak havoc for you so she could get a good laugh. That didn’t change.”

When Pettit returned from her honeymoon, she discovered that Marilyn had taped up pictures of scary clowns all over her house, even on the toilet seat.

“We do not like clowns in our family,” Pettit said. “And I found those pictures around the house for days.”

Sometimes, Marilyn would text Pettit goofy photos or she and Jhestin would call her and sing silly songs.

“She did really goofy, fun things,” Pettit said. “That is what I will miss the most. She could always make you laugh.”

At the Camas Farmer’s Market, Marilyn is credited for taking the event to a new level in her three years as market coordinator.

“Within her first year, it was immediately clear that she was exactly what our market needed...and the mission of healthy living was near and dear to her heart,” said Shannon Van Horn, president of the market’s executive board. “Since we hired her, she has eaten, slept and dreamt about the market and her tireless efforts have paid off tremendously through the years.”

With training as a social worker, Marilyn embraced all aspects of the market, Van Horn noted.

“(She) genuinely cared about the well-being of all involved in the market, from our sponsors, to our vendors, our volunteers, our customers and our many special guests,” she said.

Carrie Schulstad, executive director of the Downtown Camas Association, became good friends with Marilyn during her time at the market and the Camas Girls’ Night Out annual event, a benefit for The Pink Lemonade Project, which supports women facing breast cancer. Marilyn volunteered as a speaker for the Northwest Washington/Oregon Ovarian Cancer Alliance.

“She was a tremendous person of warmth, integrity, love, quality, joy, and gratitude,” Schulstad said. “She personified healthy living and loved the market and teaching people, especially children, how to eat and live in a healthier way. She is known for her smile, kindness and including everyone.”

She added, “It is such a great, great loss to the community. She will certainly live on through her legacies of the market, her children, and the friends and colleagues that love her.”