Ray Goodgame, a longtime Clermont city councilman who helped lead Lake County’s largest city through a period of unprecedented business and population growth, died July 28 at age 85, according to a news release.
He served the citizens of Clermont for 15 years and was recently nominated for the Florida League of Cities’ E. Harris Drew Municipal Official Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Ray was a great supporter of the city of Clermont,” City Manager Darren Gray says in the release. “He will be missed. Our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.”
The councilman died from myelodysplastic syndromes, a city spokeswoman says. MDS are a group of bone marrow disorders.
The Kings Ridge resident of 17 years was sworn into office in 2004 after a special election to fill the unexpired term for Seat 2. His current term was set to expire in November and he had not filed to run again. Two candidates, Joe Gustafson and Jim Purvis, qualified for the November election. In the interim, the City Council has the authority to appoint a council member to finish the term and will discuss the vacant seat at the next council meeting, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13, according to the release.
During Ray’s time, he was appointed by council to the role of mayor pro tem. The council’s accomplishments included the adoption of Clermont’s award-winning $30 million Downtown-Waterfront Master Plan in 2015 and the city’s rebranding to “Choice of Champions” in 2014. Ray helped approve the recent annexation into the city of the 250-acre Olympus Project, which is estimated to create more than 4,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic impact.
The city has earned numerous awards, including Best Central Florida City to Live In, Best Central Florida City to Launch a New Business, Top 20 City in America for Retirees, and Top 20 American Cities Leading the Way in Economic Development and Quality of Life.
Ray was a proponent of affordable housing for seniors and worked closely with New Beginnings of Central Florida, a social services organization. He attended neighborhood watch meetings, praising the Clermont Police Department for its community efforts. He advocated for the city to become involved in a Feed Clermont program to donate food to hungry citizens by providing collection boxes and collaborating with local businesses and food banks. Ray also suggested a veterans’ monument for Clermont; implementing an incentive for local contractors when bidding on projects; and having Lake County provide more funding to existing parks and to purchase additional land for parks, the release states.
At various times, he also served as chairman of the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization, president of the Clermont Historical Society, board member of the Cooper Memorial Library Association and the Community Foundation of South Lake, and member of the South Lake Transportation Task Force, West Orange-South Lake Transportation and Economic Development Task Force, Clermont Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, and South Lake Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Tourism Development Council and the Firefighters Pension Board of Trustees.
The Birmingham, Alabama, native was a retired mechanical engineer and Army veteran who earned his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University. He attended First United Methodist Church.
Ray is survived by his wife, Judy, and children and grandchildren. Funeral services are scheduled for 2pm Saturday, Aug. 10, at First United Methodist Church of Clermont, 950 7th St. Refreshments will follow in the church social hall. His remains will be interred at Oak Hill Cemetery, 801 E. Ave., Clermont, at a later date.
The family has requested that flowers be sent to Clermont City Hall, 685 W. Montrose St., Clermont, FL 34711. Contributions may be made to Mike Conley Hospice House (Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care) or the MDS Foundation, Inc.