Don Gooder, Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame founding member, passes

Don Gooder, a founding member of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 24. He was 86.

Don Gooder
Gooder was among the founders of the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame located in Cresco. He served as master of ceremonies for the inaugural banquet to welcome the first-ever induction class which took place in spring 1970. In fact, Gooder was the last surviving member of the group that established the Hall.

"The Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame has a rich history of honoring native Iowans for their contributions to amateur wrestling," according to the statement issued by the Hall Wednesday. "When we concluded the 50th annual awards banquet this past spring, our roster of inductees included 133 outstanding individuals. Don Gooder had a say in that exclusive group, as he also served on the IWHOF selection committee."

"For 50 years Don promoted amateur wrestling and the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame," the statement continued. "Wrestling and the IWHOF were among his passions. He will be missed by everyone involved in our organization, as well as the greater wrestling community."

Donald Edward Gooder was born in Waterloo, Iowa on August 31, 1933. He graduated from Cresco High School in 1951, then served in the United States Marines.

Gooder was a passionate, lifelong fan of amateur wrestling who made the annual trip to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. That pilgrimage began with following Cresco native Tom Peckham's mat career in the 1960s. In addition, Gooder was the father-in-law of Mike Duroe, long-time, legendary wrestling coach who mentored wrestlers at all levels -- including at the Olympics, and, most recently, as Cornell College head coach -- until his death in July 2018 at age 63. (A memorial service for Duroe will take place Saturday, Sept. 28 at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in Waterloo.)

Services for Don Gooder have already taken place.


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