About this Famous Person
Five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election
Source : Tim DOWLING
Goldwater was born in Phoenix, in what was then the Arizona Territory, the son of Baron M. Goldwater and his wife, Hattie Josephine ("JoJo") Williams. His father's Jewish family had founded Goldwater's, the largest department store in Phoenix. The family name had been changed from Goldwasser to Goldwater at least as early as the 1860 census in Los Angeles, California. Goldwater's paternal grandparents, Michel and Sarah (Nathan) Goldwasser, had been married in the Great Synagogue of London. Goldwater's mother, who was Protestant, came from an old Yankee family that included the famous theologian, Roger Williams of Rhode Island. Goldwater's parents were married in an Episcopal church in Phoenix; for his entire life, Goldwater was an Episcopalian, though on rare occasions he referred to himself as "Jewish". While he did not often attend church, he stated that "If a man acts in a religious way, an ethical way, then he's really a religious man—and it doesn't have a lot to do with how often he gets inside a church".
The family department store made the Goldwaters comfortably wealthy. Goldwater graduated from Staunton Military Academy, an elite private school in Virginia, and attended the University of Arizona for one year, where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity. Barry had never been close to his father, but he took over the family business after Baron's death in 1930. He became a Republican (in a heavily Democratic state), promoted innovative business practices, and opposed the New Deal, especially because it fostered labor unions. Goldwater came to know former president Herbert Hoover, whose conservative politics he admired greatly. In 1934, he married Margaret "Peggy" Johnson, wealthy daughter of a prominent industrialist from Muncie, Indiana. They had four children: Joanne (born January 1, 1936), Barry (born July 15, 1938), Michael (born March 15, 1940), and Peggy (born July 27, 1944). Barry became a widower in 1985, and in 1992 he married Susan Wechsler, a nurse 32 years his junior.
With the American entry into World War II, Goldwater received a reserve commission in the United States Army Air Forces. He became a pilot assigned to the Ferry Command, a newly formed unit that flew aircraft and supplies to war zones worldwide. He spent most of the war flying between the USA and India, via the Azores and North Africa or South America, Nigeria, and Central Africa. He also flew "the hump" over the Himalayas to deliver supplies to the Republic of China. Remaining in the Air Force Reserve after the war, he eventually retired as a command pilot with the rank of Major General. By that time, he had flown 165 different types of aircraft. Following World War II, Goldwater was a leading proponent of creating the United States Air Force Academy, and later served on the Academy's Board of Visitors. The Visitor Center at the USAF Academy is now named in his honor. As a Colonel he also founded the Arizona Air National Guard, and he would desegregate it two years before the rest of the US military. Goldwater was instrumental in pushing the Pentagon to support desegregation of the armed services. Goldwater retired as an Air Force Major General, and he continued piloting B-52 aircraft until late in his military career. To those who called him "rash", he would remind people of the old saying that "there are no old, bold pilots".
In 1940, Goldwater became one of the first people to run the Colorado River recreationally through Grand Canyon when he participated as an oarsman on Norman Nevills' second commercial river trip. Goldwater joined the trip in Green River, Utah and rowed his own boat down to Lake Mead. Goldwater ran track in high school, where he specialized in the 880 yard run. He often went by the nickname of "Rolling Thunder."
In 1970, the Arizona Historical Foundation published the daily journal that Goldwater maintained on the Grand Canyon trip, along with the photographs he took, in a 209 page volume titled "Delightful Journey" by Barry Goldwater.
Goldwater's son Barry Goldwater, Jr. served as a United States House of Representatives member from California from 1969 to 1983.
- Category American politician