Linda and Leonard Good, who created a lasting legacy of community, music and science, will leave Whidbey Island—where they have lived since the 1960s—and are moving to New York to be closer to family.
A street parade in their honor was hosted Saturday May 20. Dozens of well-wishers and former students lined the street to bid the much-loved couple farewell. A parade of drums and violins, guitars and banjos played the Swedish Walking Tune. The band of musicians began at Second Street and Anthes, walked up Second Street to the Langley Library, then serenaded folks at Good Cheer Thrift Store, and finally crowded in to the Moonraker Bookstore, where they greeted a long-time friend, Josh Hauser, owner of the Langley touchstone for more than 50 years.
“They have been a delight, a support to the community, and an example of people who care,” Hauser said in a phone call. “They’ve been an adornment to our lives.”
The parade finished up with Hawaiian music played by the Whidbey Ukulele Kanikapila band.
Janice Kato, who has led the Hawaiian-themed band since 2013, said, “Sad to see them go. We played one of Linda’s favorite songs, Hamabe No Uta, ‘song of the seashore.’ Then Linda had us all sing The Parting Glass. Linda used to come to our Kanikapila jam sessions…Linda and Leonard have left quite an impact on South Whidbey.”
The impact left by the Goods is seen in the hundreds of students who were taught to love music by Linda, and to have fun with science by Leonard.
Following the parade, the Goods’ friends hosted a fare-thee-well gathering at the Universalist Unitarian Church in Freeland.
At the gathering, running of Island Strings a Suzuki-based music school, which Linda Good, Linda Morris and Paula Pugh founded in 1974, was passed on to four women who will continue the school’s tradition.
Linda Morris played viola in the parade. She wrote in an email:
“The recent Langley parade on Saturday May 20th to honor Linda and Leonard Good brought a flood of memories for me. Mostly about music with Linda leading the group playing the Swedish Walking song, while she called out the chords. Linda and Leonard are both consummate teachers, Linda, music and Leonard, science. Linda never saw a musical instrument that she couldn’t teach and Leonard never made a ‘rocket’ that he couldn’t launch. They were celebrated by hundreds of students, some young and some well into middle age by now, for their decades of dedication to the musical and intellectual development of their students. I have known the two of them for over 50 years. Linda, Paula Pugh and I started Island Strings in 1974. We’ve played music together in dozens, maybe hundreds of groups, shared a meal or a glass of their fresh squeezed apple cider, watched our families grow and mature, and so much more. They are two unique and generous people and I will miss them very much.“
Talia Toni Marcus was hired as an Island Strings teacher in 1996 after Paula Pugh retired from the team. That job offer is what brought the talented violinist to Whidbey Island from Los Angeles.
As one of the four women who will carry the school’s tradition forward, Marcus wrote in an email: “Island Strings is continuing as a teaching collective with Gloria Ferry Brennan, Cindy Albers, and me. We are violinists. And Aniela Perry, who plays cello, has just opened a string instrument repair shop and teaching studio in Freeland called ‘Tiny House of Strings,’ that will serve as our center. We are moving lots of the Island Strings musical instruments to that location where they will be available for rental and sales. We will continue Linda’s tradition of teaching group lessons, piano, strings, ukulele, guitar, and miscellaneous World Music Instruments.”
Most everyone who has lived on South Whidbey a while would have gotten to know the Goods and came away loving music or knowing how to build rockets.
Leonard and Linda are Hometown Heroes.
Susan Knickerbocker, a retired writer for the South Whidbey Record, wrote the Hometown Heroes column for 25 years, and has published two books. The Goods are remembered in her column, and in the book’s first volume.
“Leonard and Linda Good are icons for this community to so many people,” Knickerbocker wrote in an email. “Linda has shared her gifts of music for thousands of people of every age. Leonard has put on the most interesting and inventive science classes for kids and adults. What they have gifted to us all is immeasurable. They role model so many values to all ages.The Goods were nominated to be written about more times than anyone could count.”
In a recent phone call, Linda Good said she is married 61 years to Leonard. The couple attended university in Des Moines, Iowa, and drove cross-country on a German-made Zündapp motorcycle piloted by Leonard, with Linda riding behind him. They wound up on Whidbey Island and have lived here ever since. They married in 1962.
“I grew up in Seattle and had a lot of relatives on South Whidbey and spent my summers with them,” Linda recalled. “At first we tried to find a place in Seattle, but found it was too expensive. We bought 10 acres on Whidbey.”
The couple began their life with Linda teaching music and Leonard teaching science. One of the ways Leonard Good made science interesting was through building rockets.
Leonard taught students science at his home and rocket science for the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation Dept. for years.
“I’ve always been interested in model planes and model building,” Leonard explained in a 2017 article for This is Whidbey. “I wanted to do something that involves building something out of nothing.”
In following his something for nothing way of thinking, Leonard asked doctors to give him the cardboard tubes that came with the paper used to cover exam tables. Leonard collected the tubes and found them to be excellent bodies for his rocket building classes.
South Whidbey Record photographer David Welton enjoyed flying model planes on Sundays with his friend Leonard and other flying enthusiasts. Welton said in the 2017 story, ““I love Leonard.“
Leonard also taught photography classes in the old style with film and photo development in black and white prints. “None of this fancy stuff,” Leonard chuckled.
In 2017, the roof over a sunroom Leonard built was leaking. The sunroom was attached to the house. Linda asked Jim Scullin to review a set of bids to make repairs. Scullin has served as president of Hearts & Hammers, a neighbor-helping-neighbor non-profit organized by the late Lynn Willeford which voluntarily repairs homes of folks who are unable or cannot afford to do the work themselves.
“The roof on the house was in poor condition,” Scullin recalled. “Linda asked my opinion as someone who knows about building if the bids looked fair. I told her they did. I went to Hearts & Hammers and said they don’t want help on this, but could we contribute. A week later the rain came and Linda called and asked if we could get a tarp installed. We know roofers through Hearts & Hammers who could put a tarp up on a roof. [Bill Taylor, of Freeland’s AB Custom Roofing] went up on the roof and said the whole roof needs to be replaced. He said we’ll do it for you. I said the [May Hearts & Hammers] work day was three days off. He said, ‘I’ll bring a crew.’ They repaired it for free. Linda’s jaw hung open. My jaw hung open. The crew showed up and did the work. Then Bill thanked me for including him on the job. I’m flabbergasted by this show of kindness. Lynn Willeford started all this. She’s living proof that one woman can change the world. The important thing about this story was not the need. Leonard and Linda are very, very self sufficient. They created an opportunity for people to help.”
Back to last Saturday at the UU Church, friends sang I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane. Folks shared memories and well-wishes for the Goods and their life ahead.
Beautiful! I’m so happy I discovered this site…such good memories of Whidbey and friends there.
Molly Larson Cook
Hiya Molly. Great hearing from you. Loved doing this story.