NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Joe W. Goering, a Moundridge banker, businessman and community leader, epitomized the values of Bethel College’s sports program. Goering, who died this past February, graduated from Bethel in 1939, where he was captain of the football team. And now the new football and soccer field will bear his name.
"Bethel College athletes become successful community leaders," said Sondra Bandy Koontz, Bethel vice president for advancement. "Joe W. Goering was proof of this. Bethel College is proud to have our new football and soccer field carry his name."
Koontz announced the naming gift on Oct. 8, during the 34th annual Fall Festival. The gift honoring a husband, father and father-in-law comes from Lovella Goering of Moundridge and the Goering children Patricia and Bill Smith, Ocean Shores, Wash., Joe and Paula Goering, Toronto, Ont., and Joyce and Christopher Saricks, Downers Grove, Ill.
"Joe had good memories of Bethel football and coach Otto Unruh," said Lovella Goering, "so our family is happy to provide the name for Bethel’s new field."
"This is a wonderful way to celebrate during Fall Festival," said Bethel president E. LaVerne Epp. "We are grateful to the Goering family. This generous gift is an important step in helping Bethel College meet the Mabee Challenge."
This past August, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., awarded Bethel College a $550,000 challenge grant for the sports complex campaign. To receive the grant, Bethel must raise an additional $2.1 million by July 14, 2005.
Joe W. Goering was raised on a farm near Moundridge. He majored in business and economics at Bethel, and also met his future wife, Lovella Schneider, there.
Goering played football under Bethel’s famed coach Unruh, who called Goering "the greatest football captain I have ever had, a great guy, and a true friend."
Joe and Lovella Goering married in 1940 and made their home in Moundridge. After serving in the U.S. Navy from 1943-45, Goering began expanding his business interests in Moundridge.
His first business, purchased in 1940, was a Shell station that soon became a Gulf station. The building still stands--now as the Mid-Kansas Cooperative maintenance department--at the corner of Cole and Drucilla streets in Moundridge. Goering then bought a dealership that sold Minneapolis-Moline farm machinery and Dodge-Plymouth cars. In 1949, he brought a Chevrolet dealership into the community.
By 1962, Goering had acquired The Citizens State Bank. By the time he retired in 1982, the bank was listed as one of the ten strongest small banks in the nation.
Goering was active in local politics, serving on the Moundridge School Board and the Ninth District Judicial Nominating Committee and helping to found the Moundridge Industrial Development Commission. He was also one of the founders of an independent telephone company in Moundridge, a new residential neighborhood (Park Place) and a Babe Ruth baseball team.
In all of his activities, his family remembers, Goering combined a hard-edged business sense with interest in and concern for people that was "far beyond the ordinary."
"No one who bought a car from him or asked for a loan came away without feeling that they had been engaged in a serious battle over mortal stakes, and without having learned something in the bargain," said his son, Joe Goering Jr.