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Biography

William (Bill) Goodwin was born in Oakland County, Michigan, near Pontiac, on November 2, 1936. Raised on a farm in Michigan, he attended Waterford Township High School. At age 15, Goodwin jumped at the chance to help support his four siblings and widowed mother when asked by Michigan Representative George Dondero to serve as a House Page. He reported to the Capitol (after a long train ride from Detroit) at the beginning of the 83rd Congress (1953–1955) as a bench Page on the Democratic side. After a brief stint on the House Floor, Goodwin was reassigned to the Democratic Cloakroom—where he worked for two years. During his time as a Democratic Page, Goodwin answered phones in the cloakroom and ran errands for the Members of the House. He later helped guard the lobby doors and access to the floor.

Goodwin’s activities extended beyond his duties assisting Members of Congress: He attended morning classes before the beginning of House sessions, participated in the Page glee club, and sang at two Page graduations, including his own in 1955. Despite his busy schedule, Goodwin managed to find time for fun—going to the movies, riding horseback, and participating in a series of Page pranks. In 1954, Goodwin and his fellow Pages witnessed one of the most violent events in the history of the House when four Puerto Rican Nationalists fired hand guns in the House Chamber; five Members were struck by gunfire. In the aftermath of the shooting, Goodwin helped carry the wounded Representatives on stretchers to waiting ambulances.

After graduating from the Capitol Page School, Goodwin returned to Michigan to study veterinary medicine at Wayne University. He left school to help support his family, taking a job as a technician for National Cash Register (NCR). After eight years at NCR, he started his own cash register business. He later established a hovercraft business, designing numerous patents for the vehicle. Partially retired, Goodwin now resides in Merritt, Michigan, where he runs a landscaping business, enjoys hunting, and sings in his church choir.