Rockland, ME—Karen Jordan Good died January 23 following a struggle with lung cancer. She was 73.
Born in Newark, NJ, Good found her way to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1960s. There, she met Michael Good, a social activist who was just beginning to learn metalsmithing skills from a sculptor he'd met. The two, who celebrated 45 years of marriage, moved “back to nature” to downeast Maine in 1968, according to their daughter, Avi Rachel Good.
They lived off the land for almost 10 years, and during that time Michael Good began working in jewelry, along with clamming and logging to pay the bills. After taking a workshop with Finnish metalsmith Heikki Seppa, he in time became the industry’s top pioneers in the technique of anticlastic raising, winning multiple prestigious awards for his sculptural forms.
Karen Good, meanwhile, went to college for broadcasting and worked at a local TV station for some time. She also was an avid photographer.
Although she herself was very creative with her photography and journalism, Karen Good’s role in the jewelry company was to singlehandedly manage the business and sales, and her wisdom and humor were well known and beloved among the couple’s many friends around the world. She was the first Small Business Person of the Year named in the state of Maine and given the award by Margaret Chase Smith, the legendary representative and U.S. senator from Maine. Good also served as president of the local Chamber of Commerce and was highly recognized as a businessperson in Rockland, and went to Japan for a trade mission run by the state of Maine. In the jewelry industry, she was a member of the Women's Jewelry Association. Both she and Michael shared a passion for education and were involved with various schools and teaching instutitions.
“They were a perfect team,” says Avi Good of her parents. (Indeed, on a personal note, I often stopped into the Michael Good booth in the Gruppe Aspects pavilion in Basel for a visit with Karen and a chance to sit and laugh over a cup of coffee. Wryly looking at my pretty-but-impractical heels, she would often observe that it's no surprise my feet hurt. )
In addition to husband Michael and daughter Avi, Karen Good also is survived by two sons, Anton Good and Gil Kleiman, son-in-law Peter Beal, daughter-in-law Ilanit Kleiman, grandchildren Marylee, Shane, and Liam Kleiman and Alaric Beal; two sisters, Nan Bradshaw and Beth Neumann, and brother-in-law Dean Bradshaw.
A private memorial service was held over the weekend; another memorial is being planned for later this year in New York for industry friends to share their memories. In the meantime, some of her closest friends offered thoughts.
Designer Susan Helmich told The Centurion, "Karen was a fearless independent thinker, and visionary. I always admired her tenacious and direct approach that she took with life, work and the people she loved. Those who truly knew her saw the sparkle in those eyes and the generosity of spirit she would bestow upon them. Karen was my trusted friend and comrade for many, many moons. I often referred to Karen as my “Jewish Mother” and although she resisted the title, she played the part exquisitely well. Karen’s passing leaves me with a feeling of great loss and abundant privilege."
Linda Orlick (Goldstein), a longtime public relations expert in the jewelry industry, said, “Over the years and the development of the American Jewelry Design Council it was my privilege to really get to know Karen Jordan Good, her amazing husband Michael and beautiful daughter Avi. Karen stood out among all others for me...her warm heart, her honesty and way of saying whatever was on her mind, her intelligence, her love for her husband and family made her a woman to admire and she truly inspired me. Our time together was all about wonderful memories. For me, Karen stands out as one of the most unique woman who I have been blessed to have as a friend, her feisty way, her warmth will leave us all missing her so much!”
Geri Bondanza Wolf of Michael Bondanza said, "I have always found Karen to be upbeat, wordily, a woman who spoke her mind and was not afraid of challenges. In the last few months of her life, in addition to leaving a great story of a New York girl, she passionately carved the way for Michael, Avi, and Anton's next chapter!"
“She was super instrumental to my first 10 years in the business,” added Cindy Edelstein of the Jewelers Resource Bureau. “A great friend.”