For 33 years, Joseph Goodheart greeted bus riders in the Portland area with a generous smile and a hearty hello.

He started driving for the Portland Coach Co. in 1954 and retired from the Metro in 1987. He drove the same routes for several years at a time, including the Ocean Avenue and Westbrook routes.

Regular riders called him Joe and appreciated his friendly service, sharing tidbits of their daily lives and giving him returnable bottles, which he was known to collect.

“Everybody knew him by name and everybody loved him,” said Tom Goodheart of Hollis, one of his four children. “Back then, the buses were standing room only. When I was little, my mom used to put me on the bus when she couldn’t find a babysitter and I’d spend the whole day with my dad. He was kind to everybody. A lot of times, if you didn’t have the money, he’d let you on the bus anyway.”

Mr. Goodheart died Wednesday at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. He was 87.

He was born in Summit, N.J., and left high school to join the Civilian Conservation Corps, working on roads and bridges to help his family make ends meet during the Great Depression.

He later served in the Coast Guard and was stationed in Portland, where he met his future wife, Anna Dunnell Goodheart, his partner in life for 65 years.

“He met her at Hayes Drug Store,” said Beverly Clark of Buxton, one of their three daughters. “She was there with some girlfriends and he was there with a couple of guys. They all decided to go to the movies and he walked her home after. They were together ever since.”

The couple married in 1945 and lived for a while in New Jersey before moving back to Maine.

“Our mom was so unhappy in New Jersey and he wanted to make her happy,” Clark said. They settled in Portland and raised four children: Clark, Tom Goodheart, Nancy White of Poland and Bonnie Mazerolla of Buxton.

Most recently, Joseph and Anna Goodheart lived in Buxton.

Mr. Goodheart enjoyed sports and stayed active throughout his life. He was a boxer when he was in the Coast Guard and belonged to several candlepin bowling leagues, including a couples league with his wife.

He also was a softball umpire for many years, calling balls and strikes for various men’s leagues and girls’ high school games.

He enjoyed taking care of his home, especially mowing the lawn and shoveling snow, services he extended to many senior citizens through the years in the neighborhood around Cheverus High School in Portland.

Later in life, he found his greatest joy in spending time with his 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

“He was a big kid at heart,” his son said. “My wife and I used to take my father and mother with us on vacation because he would keep our three kids entertained so we could relax.

“If the kids were rolling down a hill, he would join them and beat them to the bottom. If the kids were sleeping in bunk beds, he’d have to have one of the bunk beds. He wanted to be right there with them,” he said. “He loved them and they loved him right back.”

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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