Mickey Goodwin

mickey with his mother ireneWe Will Miss You, Mickey


Mickey Goodwin, September 1, 1957-March 3, 2009


The shocking news came to me Tuesday evening, “Mickey’s been shot.” I was told over the phone.  I laid the receiver down, looked at my wife and said, “Mickey’s dead.”  Horrified my wife exclaimed, “What! Is this some kind of joke?”  “I don’t know”, I answered “but I have to find out.”

So out the door I went making my way down to Melvindale hoping what I had heard wasn’t true.  Barely making it a block down the road William “Caveman” Lee, Goodwin’s long-time friend has me on my cell phone asking me to find out what is going on.  I assured him that as soon as I found anything out I would call him.  I repeat the same message to the several following phone calls received on the short 10-minute drive to Mickey’s house.


As I turned onto Ruth Street my fears are realized as I spotted a police car and a crowd of people standing in front of his house in the cold air.  I exited my vehicle and approached Mickey’s brother Frank who tells me straightforward that Mickey’s gone.  The numbness I am feeling inside quickly turned to a burning sensation as Frank tells me that it appears at this time that foul play may have been the cause of death.  In disbelief I say, “I can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt Mickey.”  The short drive home seemed like an hour as I returned the phone calls received earlier and relayed the bad news.  Sleep did not come easily that evening as I tried to block the thought of Mickey going through such a horrible ordeal.  We prayed that evening that it wasn’t true.


Late Wednesday morning our prayers were answered when I received a phone call stating that the autopsy showed that the cause of death was due to a stroke, that there was no foul play involved, and any appearance of scrapes and bruises were caused by Goodwin falling down a flight of stairs after suffering his stroke.  The sadness of losing a friend remained but the bitterness was replaced with a feeling of relief knowing that his departure was of natural causes.


Mickey’s viewing took place Saturday and Sunday and let it go down in history that the Angels in heaven cried so hard during those two days that the torrential falling of their tears flooded the streets of Downriver.  It was standing room only both days as people from every walk of life and age group stopped by to pay their respects to one of the most beloved figures in the Downriver area.  People who thought they knew him were amazed at the many things revealed about him during the service perhaps explaining the huge response to his passing away.

He was an avid reader, a remarkable speaker, and a caretaker, visitor of the elderly and homebound, a concerned citizen and most importantly an advocate for the youth.  Mickey believed that youngsters especially young teenagers needed guidance and a place to go to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.  He provided both at the River Rouge Boxing Gym.  Mickey was tough but he wasn’t harsh on the kids and hopefully the little time he had with his group will last with them their entire life.
Boxing is full of characters and Mickey was one of them.  He possessed a quality that should any wife proclaim, “I love Mickey Goodwin!” no husband would be jealous because who didn’t love the guy?  He was a man of many hats but preferred his leather porkpie with rolled up brim.  He could look as rough as a thug from the set of the Sopranos or as suave as a model from the cover of GQ.  He was as tough as they come but would rather turn and walk away from a confrontation because he believed this wasn’t the way to settle things, he truly practiced what he preached.  He was dependable and reliable and always came through for me when I needed his help.  We will truly miss him.
As we remember a guy like Mickey I think it is only fitting that we ask ourselves, “How did he get to be such a great guy?”  The answer was so plain to see at his funeral.  He was loved and he loved in return.  He had told me once that “You only get back what you put in.” and on Monday he collected.
At the conclusion of his Mass and in keeping with a long boxing tradition I counted Mickey out and rang the final ten count.  It was the toughest call I have ever made as a referee. 

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