Residents Remember Mary Goodloe as Kind, Creative, Caring

Robert Goodloe (center) and his son, David Goodloe (right), release balloons at the McFarlin Bridge in University Park to honor their wife and mother, Mary Goodloe, who died in 1995 when torrential rains caused the street to flood. (Photo: Bianca Montes)

It’s been more than 22 years since Mary Goodloe died in the rushing waters that flooded McFarlin Boulevard in 1995, and her husband still struggles to find just one word to exemplify a woman who encompassed so much.

Mary Goodloe was a first-grade teacher, whose now-grown students vividly remember the Smurf village in her classroom; how she’d dress up like the Pink Panther; and when she’d pass out candy canes around Christmastime to spread joy around University Park Elementary School.

She is remembered as kind, as the type of woman who would sing in the halls, as creative, as fun, and as caring.

“Crazily joyful,” Robert Goodloe said about his late wife, as tears welled in his eyes.

“She was one of a kind,” her son David Goodloe added.

On an especially humid day in early October, friends and family of Mary Goodloe joined University Park officials to dedicate a plaque along McFarlin Bridge. Goodloe died in May 1995 when she and her husband were caught in a torrential rainstorm that flooded McFarlin Boulevard and washed their car away.

Robert Goodloe, who was pinned between the car and the guardrail, was rescued.

At that time, the water rose about 5.5 feet above the street. And ever since, the city has been working to fix the problem. Beacons now flash to warn residents near the creek to evacuate when the water rises past 6 feet above the static pool elevation.

Overlooking the picturesque view of the creek, resident Kirk Dooley said, “The one thing that’s important about this plaque and about this setting is that because of this, Mary Goodloe will never be forgotten.

“She will always be remembered in our hearts, but for generations to come, people who walk across this bridge will think of Mary and what a wonderful person she was.”

In 2014, city officials began a 13-month project to reconstruct that part of McFarlin Bridge and build a dam where water from Turtle Creek in Williams Park easily overruns its bank.

The project was fully completed in February 2017 and cost about $5.3 million, city officials said.

Mayor Olin Lane, who read a proclamation at the dedication, echoed Dooley’s sentiment, saying he is comforted by the fact that many of those who walk by the site will pause for a moment and remember a teacher who played a positive role in their lives.

“She deserved it,” Robert Goodloe said of the plaque. “Coming here brings back all sorts of memories … we were out there in that water over there, but it was the right thing to do, and I am glad it was done.

“I hope she won’t be forgotten, She was something great.”

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Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at Bianca.Montes@Dmagazine or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

2 thoughts on “Residents Remember Mary Goodloe as Kind, Creative, Caring

  • March 6, 2019 at 7:33 am

    May 5,2019 I will walk the McFarlin Bridge alone as I’ve done the previous 23 years. The vision of Mary Goodloe’s face is planted in my brain where it remains after all these years. People often ask how many people I saved in my career. That number is not important to me , but the number of people I lost is. I was the last person to touch her as she slipped from my finger tips – an image that’s planted in my brain and brings pain to my heart. I’m sorry.

    • December 12, 2020 at 12:25 am

      I’m Mary’s son and I’d like to talk to you again. In my mind you are a HERO! You risked your life to save her. I’m happy you were the last person to touch her. You said she smiled. I’ll never forget the day I met you at her funeral. God Bless you, Sir!


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