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FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham lost one of its strongest and most passionate advocates for youth sports, girls soccer, recreation, and most recently senior citizens. Mark Goldman, 74, died on Sunday, September 12, 2021

Goldman, at the time of his death, was the vice chair of the Framingham Council on Aging and the President of the Friends of the Callahan Center, but his ardent volunteerism started decades ago.

He is one of the main reasons so many have recreational and sports fields in this City. Volunteerism and making things better for all was in his blood. During his lifetime, he advocated for girls in sports, better recreational facilities for all, and later in his life for senior citizens.

Even when trying to recover from his recent health crisis, he was still fighting to stay active and fight for those in the City of Framingham.

“My dad applied to be re-appointed to the Council on Aging, while in the ICU” at UMass Memorial, said his daughter Laura Goldman, a long-time teacher at Barbieri Elementary School.

Born in Newton, Goldman made Framingham his home since 1971, said his daughter Risa Burgess.

Goldman is survived by his beloved wife, Marilyn (Lapin) Goldman. They would have been married 50 years this October, said his daughters.

He worked as a salesman, travelling often, but always found time for his two daughters.

He leaves daughter Risa Burgess and her husband Scott; daughter Laura Goldman-Pogson and her wife, Sarah; two grandchildren, Max and Brooke, whom he absolutely adored; sister Marsha (Goldman) Soloway and her husband Ed, and many other extended family members, friends and neighbors.

“My dad was passionate about helping people. He was always finding a way to give back to Framingham,” said Burgess.

“Service and community was so important to him,” said Burgess.

His involvement started with my sister and I playing soccer, explained Burgess.

She joked that one of them was better on the field than the other, but that her dad worked tirelessly to make sure that both had a wonderful experience with soccer, and that all boys & girls – especially girls – had an “fun” and “enjoyable” soccer experience.

Burgess said she remembers the garage filled with soccer equipment and uniforms, from when her dad started as a volunteer equipment manager with Framingham United Soccer Club.

Goldman later became a coach, and then joined the FUSC Board, and eventually served as its President.

But his work with soccer did not end there. He wanted everyone – especially girls – to have the best fields and the best experience.

In 2001, Goldman was honored as a Salute To Framingham honoree for his work with Framingham United Soccer club and his tireless efforts to help create the “Field of Dreams Soccer Complex,” said Burgess.

Goldman led the effort to obtain a 99-year lease for 29 acres of state-owned land in South Framingham to create the Merchant Road soccer complex, that hundreds of youths no play on every spring and fall.

“He loved being a coach,” said Burgess. Goldman, later became a referee, too.

“We went through the training course to be a ref together,” said Burgess.

“He was an advocated for youth sports, specifically making things more equals for all in regards to gender,” said Goldman. He was always working for the “underdog.”

That cheering on the underdog is why he worked to strengthen the intramural soccer program. He wanted all boys & girls to enjoy soccer, even if they could not make the travel teams, explained his daughters.

That program lives on today with hundreds of youths enjoying his efforts.

“Mark was a dear friend for many years,” said Stephen Smoller, who knew him for four decades. “He was a generous man with his time and efforts for the town and those organizations fortunate enough to have him as a member. His efforts for Framingham United Soccer in particular were outstanding. We’re it not for him, our wonderful field complex on Merchant Road would not have happened. His work at Callahan Center was truly remarkable. Mark underwent serious medical challenges over his last few years, but battled through them as he continued his efforts on behalf of his causes. May he rest in peace and may his name be for a blessing.”

Goldman also served as a Framingham Parks & Recreation Commission, and eventually chaired the Commission.

While on the Commission, Goldman worked to create Cushing Memorial Park, one of the gems of the City for recreation. Daily hundreds of residents use the park, that has his name on the dedication plague.

Goldman was also active at his Temple – Temple Beth Sholom on Pamela Road in Framingham.

“He was a head usher,” said Goldman. “He volunteered as a chef.”

Volunteering was just part of the “fabric of his life,” said Burgess.

As Goldman grew older, and his daughters became adults, he turned his volunteerism to senior citizens.

Goldman served as President of the Friends of Callahan since January 2014 and was a member of the Council on Aging Board since July 2018.

“Mark first approached the Council on Aging Department about helping the Friends of Callahan with their fundraising efforts in the autumn of 2013. His previous experience with the Parks Commission in their efforts to establish the soccer field complex on the south side of Framingham were notable and benefited many families and children who enjoyed the sport as much as he did. Mark was always about what he could do to help the rest of his community,” said Framingham Director of Elder Service Grace O’Donnell.

“The staff at the Callahan Center will be forever grateful that he chose to use his successful salesman talents for the benefit of the older adults in Framingham. He started with facilitating the Sports Fanatics program started by Sam Swisher to encourage more camaraderie among New England sports fans at the Callahan Center,” said O’Donnell.

“When he took the helm as President of the Friends of Callahan he made great progress with the Friends of Callahan Travel Program. He graciously accepted donations from Mutual One Bank Foundation to equip the Computer Center and fund a new electronic Bingo board. He worked with Randy Aylsworth to improve the Friends lunch program and added in the professional piano playing of the late Sonja Maneri for diners’ enjoyment,” said O’Donnell.

“When the Friends chose to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Council on Aging, Mark was involved right from the start. He famously and successfully contacted supporters from his hospital bed to contribute to the gala celebration,” said O’Donnell.

“Whatever Mark chose to do he put his heart and soul into it.  The Council on Aging Department was fortunate to have Mark serve in a dual role as a COA Board Member since July 2018,” said O’Donnell. “As the President of the Friends, he was especially proud of the Friends contributions to the Continuing Connections program. This is a weekly program of education, socialization, music therapy and exercise for people with a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimer’s and their carepartners. He saw first hand how much the participants in this program benefited from the social work staff dedicated to helping people along this difficult journey.”

“In the seven years that Mark was President of the Friends, I don’t recall the Friends turning down a request for assistance. I will miss Mark as someone with a great sense of humor, creative ideas and a can-do attitude, who cared very much about making this a better world for other people. Words can’t fully express how much I will personally miss him. May his example inspire others to do even half as much for their community,” said O’Donnell.

Pat Dunne, Vice President of the Friends of the Callahan Center, had volunteered as a soccer coach with Goldman and been friends with him for more than 30 years.

“Mark Goldman is a true senior hero. He devoted countless hours as the President of the Friends of the Callahan Senior Center to improve the lives of Framingham seniors and to upgrade the facilities of the Callahan Senior Center,” said Dunne.

“One of my fellow board members summed it up by saying, ‘Mark never complained; he was selfless and always did for others’. All the people I’ve reached are greatly saddened by his passing. Our sincere condolences go out to the Goldman family,” said Dunne.

“I have know Mark Goldman for over 40 years. He was the President of the Friends of Callahan, and worked tirelessly to raise money to help sustain the Callahan Center. Everyone loved Mark. He had a wonderful family and was so proud of them. Mark’s unending work for the Callahan  Center and City of Framingham is a tragic loss to our community May his memory be a blessing. Rest In Peace dear friend,” said Linda Levitt.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Mark Goldman. We had known each other for many years, and most recently as the President of the Friends of the Callahan Center. Mark was a dedicated volunteer who was passionate about supporting seniors. He will be deeply missed by the entire community. Robin and I send our condolences to Mark’s family. May his memory be for a blessing,” said Charlie Sisitsky.

“I was very saddened this morning to learn of Mark’s passing from a mutual friend. He was a wonderful man and was dedicated to improving the lives of seniors in our community,’ said former City Councilor Cheryl Tully Stoll.

“In fact it was Mark who reached out for help when it was suddenly discovered that the Mayor was in the process of moving a clinic for unvaccinated children into our senior center. Mark’s urgent outreach combined with additional efforts to help stop the move, resulted in our senior center being kept a safe and healthy place for all of our older residents. Subsequently, there were permanent restrictions put on the building so that the wellbeing of the people who use the Callahan Center will not be jeopardized again. This is just one of Mark’s wonderful contributions to our community will that live on. He was a great person with a great attitude and will be missed by many of us,” said Tully Stoll.

Sisitsky, Tully Stoll, and City Councilor Michael Cannon all worked with Goldman on the Callahan Center/health clinic issue and so many other senior citizen issues in the City.

“I was devastated to learn of Mark’s passing. Mark was an outstanding champion for our community. Our seniors are better served because of his leadership. Mark led the charge to save the Callahan Center when its exclusive use for seniors was in jeopardy. I was proud and privileged to call him a mentor and a friend, and I will miss him dearly,” said District 4 City Councilor Cannon, who worked with Goldman on several issues to help seniors.

“I met Mark some years ago, and he looked at me with those ‘Great Eyes’ and said you would be great on board of the Callahan, and especially as the Sunshine Lady, now my position has grown to many meaningful other phases, but I could never say no to him,” said Mary Megill. “Great man, who did so much good.”

“I am terribly saddened to hear the news of Mark’s passing. He put his heart and soul into the senior center. This is a huge loss for them,” said City Councilor Janet Leombruno. “He was a kind soul, with a quick wit. He most certainly will be missed. My heart goes out to his family.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I learned of the passing today of Mark Goldman. I got to know Mark during volunteering at Callahan during the last few years. He was such a great individual and could not do enough and was truly dedicated to Callahan and the people that got to work and know him. He will be truly missed,” said Helaine Hyzen.

Services for Goldman will be Wednesday morning.

LINK for services for Mark Joel Goldman


SOURCE is still accepting remembrances about Goldman for this report. If you would like to submit a quote email and the report will be updated through Wednesday.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.