Though a solemn day for all, there were smiles and laughs from the hundreds of people who remembered Dean Harrison Goodyear — a popular local brewer, doorman and film production assistant — as a man of great humor and spirit, at his funeral and reception on Tuesday.
Goodyear, 30, who died unexpectedly from a medical condition on Sunday, March 11, was remembered by several of those who knew him as a man who treated everyone as a friend, making newcomers and locals alike feel welcome and wanted. His funeral and reception were attended by hundreds.
“He would challenge you to be his friend,” said Alex Amick, a close friend and former roommate of Goodyear, during the reception at the Terraces on Sir Tyler, where hundreds gathered following the funeral at Port City Community Church.“The crowd here show how much of an impact he had on the city of Wilmington. Everywhere I went, someone knew Dean.”
Goodyear was known by many in Wrightsville beach from his work as a doorman at Red Dogs. However, though large in size, his friends spoke of a gentle giant whose heart was even bigger than his stature.
“Dean was a gentle man,” said friend Jeremy Malanka, with whom Goodyear collaborated on a craft beer themed podcast called Malty Gravity. “He was a presence.”
After attending Cape Fear Community College to study film, Goodyear picked up employment in a wide range of fields around the area. In addition to being a film assistant for local productions, he also attended massage therapy school and was taking online information technology courses in order to find work in that field.
Many knew Goodyear through his work in the local craft brewing community. After working as an assistant brewer at Bill’s Front Porch, Goodyear moved to Broomtail Craft Brewery, where he was working as head of sales and distribution at the time of his death.
His friends also spoke of Goodyear’s love of learning, which he often expressed through hosting trivia contests at locations around Wilmington.
Nick Runyan, who worked with Goodyear and Amick on trivia questions, said he served as an audience to their unique brand of humor. In addition to always having a joke to crack, Goodyear would often make funny videos to post on social media.
“He would say, ‘let’s learn something together,’ before working on the trivia questions,” Runyan said. “I felt like I was their audience for their humor. It was a challenge to earn their laughter.”
Some of his friends first met him while trying to break into the local film industry.
Jamie Bloom, who traveled from Atlanta to attend the funeral, recalled first meeting Goodyear when she was in Wilmington searching for a job in the film industry. Goodyear encouraged her, she said, and later, when she finally landed a film job, he was one of the first people she encountered on set. “You made it,” Goodyear told her.
Many associated Goodyear with his love of science fiction and magic, Bloom said.
Eventually, Bloom became one of Goodyear’s roommates, where she picked up some of his mannerisms, a gift she said will help her remember him.
“I’ll be consistently living a path with Dean because of his mannerisms,” she said.
Many friends said they were inspired by the life Goodyear led.
“He was the person you wanted to be. He was the person you wanted to see,” said friend Onra Morales. “He was selfless. He gave all of his self. I want to live up to the time and energy he invested in me.”
Much of the admiration from his friends stemmed from his caring nature, friends said.
“You could tell that he would care about you,” said friend Leslie Bellows. “He could talk people down from bad situations. You really believed that he gave a shit about you. Because he did.”
At the time of his death, Goodyear was with fiance Alice Cox. One friend said the two had developed a deep love that was evident.
While Goodyear hated going to the beach, he started going regularly with Cox, said Isabella Jewell.
“That’s how I knew she was the one, when she got him to go to the beach,” Jewell said, fighting back tears.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Lourinda Goodyear. Goodyear is survived by his father, Joseph David Goodyear; stepmother, Sarah Goodyear; stepbrothers, Brendyn Kane and Brycen Keanaaina; fiancée, Alice Cox; future parents-in-law, Sarah and Louis Cox; future brother-in-law, Charles Cox; future sister-in-law, Kaylee Bartholomew.
“He was my best friend, my soul mate, the love and light of my life. I truly believe that he was made for me and I was made for him. He always told me that I was the one who changed his life and taught him so much about himself, about God, and about love. Little did he know; he was really the one changing mine. I am a different and better woman for knowing and loving Dean and even though our time was cut way too short, I am so grateful that he chose me to love him for the rest of his life. I can proudly say that Dean knew what true love felt like before he left this earth. My heart will always truly belong to Dean Goodyear,” fiancée Alice Cox wrote in his obituary.
As both shared a love for bees, which Goodyear would call a “good omen,” Cox asked mourners to consider donating to the Honeybee Conservancy.