Miriam Elaine Goder (nee Gainer) died on May 22, 2019, after suffering a stroke the day before. She was born in St. Mary’s, West Virginia on June 5, 1930, to Patrick W. and Antoinette (Kizinski) Gainer, and lived in St. Louis and New York City as a child, before her family settled in Morgantown, West Virginia. She attended West Virginia University and earned double master’s degrees in chemistry and music, playing both cello and piano before concentrating solely on the piano. Her first job took her to the University of Wisconsin at Platteville, where she taught in both the chemistry and music departments, and where she met Harold Goder, a biology professor at the university. They married in 1957, and during their honeymoon fell in love with New England.
In 1962, Harold and Miriam accepted teaching positions at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, where they lived and taught for the next four decades. They spent years restoring a 1790’s house, making it into a loving home for their three children. Along with her college teaching, chairing the music department, and teaching private piano lessons, Miriam also owned and ran the Keene Sewing Center and founded the Keene Institute for Music and the Related Arts, a community music and arts school. She somehow still found time to indulge in her hobbies of sewing, knitting, crossword puzzles, and gourmet cooking.
Miriam and Harold “retired” to North Carolina in 2004, where she kept a full schedule of private piano students. Soon after Harold’s death in 2008, she moved to the Buffalo, New York area to be closer to her daughter, Phoebe, settling in Hamburg. Although in her late seventies by this time, she soon established herself as a private piano teacher, a member of various orchestra and piano groups, and the Eden Up-to-Date Club. At 85, she began taking a T’ai chi class, which she thoroughly enjoyed. In addition to her busy social life, she played an active role in the lives of her three children and three grandchildren, and inspired all who met her with her positive outlook and boundless energy. She had encouraging words for everyone, and a sympathetic ear for those who needed it.
Miriam is survived by her three children, Phoebe (James) Waller-Sharp of Hamburg, NY, Jehu Goder (wife Leslie Sepuka) of Queens, NY, and Meghan Goder (husband Daniel Reiser) of Sudbury, MA; three grandchildren, Alec Waller-Sharp, Max Goder-Reiser, and Beatrice Goder-Reiser; two brothers, Michael Gainer of Latrobe, PA and Thomas Gainer (Sheila) of Newport News, VA; sister-in-law Eleanor Jo Gainer of Minooka, IL; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and countless students and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Harold Goder, her parents, and her brothers, Patrick A. Gainer and Nicholas Gainer.
A Memorial Gathering will be held on Sunday June 2nd from 3-5PM at the (Hamburg Chapel) JOHN J. KACZOR FUNERAL HOME, INC. 5453 Southwestern Blvd. (Corner of Rogers Rd. 716-646-5555). In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Buffalo Stringworks, Planned Parenthood, or the Boys and Girls Club of Eden.
Buffalo Stringworks (provides music instruction to refugee children) www.buffalostringworks.org or by mail to PO Box 195 Buffalo, NY 14213
Planned Parenthood www.weareplannedparenthood.org for online donations or a form to mail donations
Boys & Girls Club of Eden 8284 North Main St., Eden, NY 14057
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