Alfred Theodore “Ted” Goodwin June 29, 1923 – December 27, 2022


Last updated 1/11/2023 at Noon

Alfred Theodore “Ted” Goodwin was born on June 29, 1923 in Bellingham, Washington to Alonzo Theodore Goodwin and Miriam Williams Goodwin. Ted passed away peacefully on December 27, 2022 at the age of 99.

Ted was the oldest of eight children. His father, an itinerant Baptist preacher, regularly moved the entire family to small logging communities throughout Washington, Oregon, and California. Ted went to high school in Prineville, Oregon and worked on ranches every summer. At the age of 16 he could train, harness, and drive a team of horses.

At the University of Oregon Ted earned a degree in journalism. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany and the Philippines during World War II. He returned to the U of O after the war where he met the love of his life, Mary Ellin Handelin, a Coos Bay native attending the U of O. They married in 1949 and Ted earned his law degree in 1951.

Ted had a remarkable legal career. After four years in private practice in Eugene, Governor Paul Patterson appointed Ted a Lane County Circuit Court judge in 1956. In 1960, Governor Mark Hatfield appointed him to the Oregon Supreme Court, where he served for 10 years. His love of Oregon and the hardworking men and women he met growing up in rural communities throughout the West always informed his legal rulings. His notable 1969 opinion in the Oregon Beaches Case held that the land between the mean high tide and the visible vegetation line belonged to the people of Oregon, preserving the dry sand area for public use.

In 1970, Ted was appointed to the Federal District Court in Portland. Two years later, he was appointed to the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he served as Chief Judge from 1988 to 1991. He is one of only two judges in the nation to have been a state and federal trial judge and a state and federal appellate judge.

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Ted and Mary moved to Sisters full-time in 2012. Ted continued to handle appellate cases for the Ninth Circuit until 2020. He also continued to do the ranch work he loved. At 96, he could still handle a chainsaw and set a railroad tie fence post. Ted continued to ride horses well into his 90s. He annually helped gather calves for branding at Aspen Valley Ranch in Post and was a longtime member of the Skyline Trail Riders.

Ted is survived by his beloved wife, Mary; and his five children: Michael, Karl (Kit Stafford), Meg, Sara (James Clement), and James (Dawn Mead) Goodwin. Ted has seven grandchildren. Ted’s brothers, John and Sam, and sisters, Ruth and Miriam, all live in Oregon. He was predeceased by brothers James, Dan, and David.

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a memorial on a date yet to be determined. Donations can be made in Ted’s name to the Deschutes Land Trust.


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