Sam Goodhue, of Bartlett, died peacefully in his sleep at his home on August 17, 2006. He was 84. He died early in the morning and that day the morning weather show on WMWV, which Sam always listened to, rated the day a “50 center.” Sam would have gotten a kick out of that.
A New Hampshire native, Sam grew up in Nashua. He was from old Yankee stock and would proudly say “My ancestors weren’t on the Mayflower but they came over on the very next boat.” He was a direct descendant of many of Salem’s sea captains.
Sam served in the U.S. Army during WWII. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge with the 84th Infantry Division. He was wounded in combat and was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge along with several campaign and service medals.
After the war, Sam spent some time skiing in Aspen, Colo. He returned to New Hampshire to finish his college education at UNH where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. Sam was employed at the Foxboro Company in Foxboro, Mass., for more than 30 years.
It was during his college days that Sam ventured north to Pinkham Notch, and there he came to the attention of Joe Dodge, manager of the AMC hut system. Joe always had an eye out to recruit able-bodied young guys willing to work. The post war years saw more and more people using the huts and the national forest. There was plenty of work to do.
Sam was able and willing and this began a long and productive association for him with the mountains and many organizations and individuals who were benefited by his mechanical ability, resourcefulness, organizational skills and leadership.
He served the AMC as counselor of both huts and trails. He was involved with the Mountain Leadership School for more than 25 years. He was a member of the Mount Washington Volunteer ski patrol and was instrumental in the construction of Mizpha hut. Sam also explored the western mountains and enjoyed heli-skiing and mountaineering in the Selkirk range of British Columbia, where he made many climbing trips with his good friend and fellow old hutman Bill Putnam.
A licensed ham radio operator, Sam applied his skills to help with the Civil Defense preparedness in his community and worked tirelessly to improve communications from Pinkham Notch into Tuckerman’s Ravine.
In 1957 Sam bought the Old Hatch Farm on Thorn Hill Road from fellow O.H. Bruce Sloat. Sam recalled “the place was so run down I paid for it by the cord.”
Over the years Sam fixed it up in good shape and it became a base of operations for his mountain adventures. In the 1980s Sam retired from Foxboro and moved permanently to Bartlett.
Sam was, over the years, a member of the AMC, the American Alpine Club, the Old Hutman’s Association, the Trail Crew Association, the Mount Washington Observatory, the Lowell Observatory, the Mount Washington Old Car Club, the Coon Range, and the Marine Society at Salem, a skier, mountaineer, radio operator, builder, trail worker, engineer, and old hutman – a man of keen intelligence and sharp wit.
With Sam’s passing we lose another member of the “Greatest Generation.” His contributions were many and he will be missed by all who were lucky enough to be his friends.