The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Remembering John Goldsack


John Wood Goldsack in an unbuttoned moment.
 
Many Plainfielders will be saddened to learn of the sudden death of local attorney John Wood Goldsack over the Christmas holidays. Obituaries can be found online here, and here.

John was a long-time partner of Victor E.D. King and his father, Victor King, in the North Plainfield firm of King, King and Goldsack.


I first met John nearly thirty years ago, when he was invited to speak to the members of the local gay and lesbian organization Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield (RSVP) about legal matters, with a special focus on wills and estates.


This was in the days before there was such a thing as a movement for marriage equality, and gays and lesbians in committed relationships had many legal issues about which to make decisions in order to bolster their rights and protect their assets.


We all knew horror stories of individuals denied visitation with their seriously ill or dying partners and more than one instance of a partner being cheated out of an estate by greedy family members who had previously alienated themselves from an openly gay relative.


John was deluged with business from that presentation -- including doing wills for myself and my partner Nat.


In 1986, when I became active in local real estate, I naturally thought of John as an attorney for clients who were selling or buying a home. John ran the smoothest real estate operation I experienced in my entire real estate career -- with the considerable help of his paralegal Michele Marron.


Every detail was always meticulously attended to, reducing the stress on all parties to the transaction and reducing -- if not eliminating -- surprises at the closing table.


Reducing, but not completely eliminating.


I recall one particular instance where John's unflappability was put to good use.


A transaction on Third Place in Plainfield had been troublesome all along. My customer the buyer had overcome some concerns about the property after the home inspection, but was moving ahead with the deal. As the closing date neared, I checked a couple of times with the sellers about their progress in packing and moving so that the house would be delivered vacant at closing as required by the contract.


Each time I was assured they were aware of their obligation and -- despite no signs of packing -- that they would be out of the house in time. My visit the night before the closing was not hopeful as there were still no signs of an impending move.


Nor was it any better on the morning of the closing.


As we all assembled in the conference room at John's office -- the buyer, the sellers and their attorneys -- John asked me to check with Ms. Marron in the adjoining office for a needed document.


Turns out this was a ruse. Michele asked if the house was vacant and I said I couldn't see how it could be, since nothing had been moved out and the owners were sitting at the closing table. She put me through to John on the phone and said he would stall the proceedings while I drove from North Plainfield to the property on Third Place and made a final inspection.


I did so as quickly as I could and was back at the law offices within half an hour. I slipped into the conference room as the attorneys were finishing the signing of the documents. John just glanced up and asked if I had found things as I left them. Giving him a positive answer, John then turned to the sellers with their proceeds check in hand and with a delicious flair waved it under their noses, announcing that it would be held securely in his office safe until they had removed their belongings and the house was agreed by all parties to be truly vacant.


Talk about motivation! Those folks practically flew out the door and within a couple of hours I had received a phone call to come and check the property -- which this time was finally empty. Rendezvousing at Goldsack's office where he took sworn statements from both the buyers and myself that the house was vacant, the sellers were finally given their check. Happy ending for all.


John was devoted to the Episcopal Church and we had many occasions to work together on projects when he was Vice Chancellor (and then Chancellor) of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey and I was a Vestryman (and then Warden) of Grace Church, Plainfield, and a delegate to diocesan conventions.


I ran into John only a few months ago at lunch time in a bistro near his office on Route 22 in North Plainfield. He was chipper, gregarious and gossipy, as always.


He will be missed by many.



Memorial Service for
John Wood Goldsack, Esq.

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Service at 11:00 AM
Family receiving friends from 8:30 - 10:30
and immediately after the service

St. John's Episcopal Church
158 West High Street
Somerville

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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1 comments:

Michael Townley said...

John was a special person. He was very dedicated to his clients and did everything to assure they were properly treated. He handled the adoption of our son for us as well as my parents' wills. He was always courteous, kind, and thoughtful. John served in Rotary for many years and was true to Rotary's motto in all that he did - "Service Above Self."