John Overton Goad III – World War II hero, longtime advertising executive and cherished patriarch of a family that has called Evanston home for generations – died peacefully in Evanston on July 2, in the company of loved ones. He was 94.
The son of John Overton Goad II and Gertrude Boettcher Goad, Mr. Goad was born in Chicago on June 7, 1926. He was raised in Evanston, attending Lincoln Elementary, Nichols Middle School and Evanston Township High School before going off to fight in World War II in Germany.
Mr. Goad was a sergeant in the A Company in the 60th Infantry Regiment of 9th Infantry Division, First Army – a unit known as the "Go Devils" that was among the first to cross the Rhine at the Ludendorf Bridge at Remagen. Wounded by flying shrapnel from an explosion, Mr. Goad was declared Missing in Action for a time before turning up at a Russian Army Hospital.
"The ten weeks from March 1 to May 8, 1945 became the most memorable, dangerous and exciting days of my life," Mr. Goad told the non-profit organization Honor Flight Chicago years later, when the group brought him and other veterans on a ceremonial trip to Washington, D.C. "I would not trade them for anything, but I would not wish the experience to be repeated by anyone who I cared about."
His heroics outside Berlin earned Mr. Goad Bronze Battle Stars, a Victory Medal and the Purple Heart, among other decorations. In 2018, he was honored at Wrigley Field, alongside then-manager Joe Madden and Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, for his service.
After the war, he attended Colorado College and, in 1948, married Nancy Ehrlicher of Evanston, whom he had known since childhood. A local wedding announcement described Mr. Goad as "a G.I. with a terrific record." He later transferred to Northwestern University, and the couple returned to Evanston, where they raised three children in the family's home on Harrison Street.
Mr. Goad went to work for Leo Burnett, one of Chicago's most storied advertising agencies. Over the span of roughly a quarter century, he earned multiple promotions, ultimately being named a vice president at the firm.
In his later years, Mr. Goad spent countless afternoons in the bleachers of his grandchildren's sporting events – golf tournaments, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and football games at ETHS – often with a video camera proudly perched on his shoulder.
He was an avid fan of the Northwestern Wildcats and the Chicago Cubs, and loved to spend warm evenings on his front porch holding court with family and friends.
Mr. Goad was preceded in death by Nancy Goad, his beloved wife of 63 years, as well as his sister Betty Jean Goad and brother Alan Goad.
He is survived by his three children, John Goad IV (Linda), Gretchen Golebiewski (Tom) and Amy Goad; nine grandchildren: Jessica Pilcher (Bryan), Benjamin Goad (Casey), Jane Tomlinson (Joe), Zachary Goad (Melody) Thomas Golebiewski (Amber) Margaret Diaz, William Golebiewski (Madelyn) John Goad V (Amanda) and Emily Kaufman; and eleven great-grandchildren: Justin, Katherine and Abigail Pilcher; Caroline, Eleanor and Charlie Tomlinson; Max Diaz; Benjamin Goad II; John and Ada Golebiewski and Odin Golebiewski.
He will be loved always and remembered by all for his generosity, wit, and love of life.
A celebration of Mr. Goad's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Arrangements entrusted to Evanston Funeral & Cremation, Roland F. Weis director. Info 847 866-8843, condolence and guestbook at evanstonfuneral.com
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Overton Goad, III, please visit our floral store.