Everett Thomas • The Good of Goshen

Everett Thomas

President, Goshen Theater

Published March 2020

I came to Goshen more than 50 years ago as a teenager, a second-year transfer student to Goshen College. Because I met and married Barbara Gunden, a woman whose large family came to Goshen in 1930 with many of the family members eventually serving in significant roles in the college and community, I was quickly grafted into both.

Barbara and I have been sailing for 40 years. In 2006 we bought a 36-foot sailboat that we keep in Michigan City, Ind., in the summers. I also play in a five-piece jazz ensemble. I do mostly stand-up bass, some keyboard, classical guitar, a little trombone, and vocals. I also read a lot of nonfiction and enjoy traveling with my wife and family.

I am currently volunteering 30-35 hours a week as the owner representative working with the contractors for The Goshen Theater‘s $5 million renovation project. It is very meaningful and a lot of fun!

My vocation in life has been to work for institutions of the Mennonite Church. My avocation has been to serve as a member of the Goshen City Council for 24 years. In 2016 I decided I had “done my time” and did not run for reelection. I recently retired from serving as president of the Greencroft Communities Foundation; the foundation serves the eight retirement communities in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan that comprise Greencroft Retirement Communities.

When I was first elected to the City Council in 1991, the central business district was on a downward spiral with some boarded-up buildings on Main Street. But a concerted effort by city leaders, inspired by the leadership of then-mayor Allan Kauffman, set us on a trajectory toward the vibrant downtown we have today. Of course, it required much more than government intervention. Entrepreneurs such as Dave Pottinger, who had a vision for repurposing older buildings, inspired others to do the same. This vibrancy, along with broad support for the business community, is one reason Goshen was named Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2017.

Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King

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