James Dent Goodyear

May 4, 2021

Dent Goodyear wrote three epitaphs to be inscribed on his memorial stone:

“To my wife and life partner: ‘Make of our hands one hand, make of our hearts one heart, make of our lives one life, day after day, one life’.”

“To all the cats and dogs we rescued: I loved you! You loved me! What a gift!”

“Thank you! What a great adventure it was!”

Eulogy by Dent’s Wife, Soulmate, Life Companion, Clarice:

James Dent Goodyear was born April 30, 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina when he was five weeks old. He said that classified him as a native Charlottean, attending Eastover Elementary School and graduating from Charlotte Country Day School (1964).

Dent’s mother was Dorotha Dent Goodyear (1913-1991) and his father was George Sullivan Goodyear Jr. (1913-1993).

Dent’s brother, George Sullivan Goodyear III (1942), lives in Charlotte with wife Anne Sykes Goodyear. Dent has three nephews—Clay (Chrissy), Bryan (Jane), and Zach (Laura) and one niece—Kelley Goodyear Burch (Mike) as well as five great-nephews and four great-nieces.

Dent married Clarice Cato Goodyear in Charlotte on June 29, 1968.

Dent graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island in 1968 with a B.F.A. in Industrial Design.

Dent left his earthly body in Charlotte on May 4, 2021 to become one with the Mystery.

One of Dent’s two life-favorite creative projects was his six years (1967-1972) designing,  custom-producing, and installing by himself three sets, each of ten pieces, of therapeutic playground equipment in child rehabilitation centers in Rhode Island.

Dent’s other dream project was his five years (2005-2009) finding the land and then designing and building his and Clarice’s sanctuary home and property. Dent: “I had wanted to build a house from my own design since I was a kid. This was the chance of a lifetime! The creative process was the biggest of my life—and the most fun I have ever had.”

Dent’s and Clarice’s joint avocation was the rescue of cats and dogs, providing each companion animal with his/her “forever” home with them. During their almost 53 years of marriage, they rescued, lived with, and loved over 100.

Dent’s numerous, passionately-pursued hobbies included photography (of their cats and dogs and of places and people he and Clarice encountered on their travels, foreign and domestic), landscaping and flower and vegetable gardening (plant nurturing), carpentry, gourmet cooking, the continued enhancement of his computer skills (particularly graphic design and photographic restoration/reproduction), the ownership and driving of specialty (fast!) cars, the ownership and playing of a vast music collection in many genres and all formats, and a catalogued collection of over 2000 films, one chosen almost every night to watch. He could fix most anything. His most strenuous physical feat was an eight-day hike in 1998 up and down the rugged mountain terrain of Nepal.

He and Clarice coauthored four books about Clarice’s father’s life and many accomplishments, the first in 1975 and the other three, ultimately published in 2017 and 2019.

Dent was a man who found satisfaction in giving of and sharing himself—to his soulmate, Clarice, to their menagerie of companion animals, to his parents, to his brother’s family, to Clarice’s family, and to his many friends. He was a kind man with gentle ways and a huge heart.  He was an interior person who showed his feelings through actions more often than through words. People responded to his warmth and to the nice guy that he was. He lived life with gratitude for the many blessings bestowed on him.

In 2014 Dent was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, Semantic Dementia. The book on which he and Clarice were working at that time, which will eventually be published, is Happily Ever After: Happy Tails and Photographs of a Couple’s Life with 100 Rescued Cats and Dogs.

Clarice: “Dent and I met in the 9th grade. We were friends more than 61 years.  Dent was my best friend, my favorite companion, my equal partner, and one of my toughest teachers for many precious years. Some of you reading this knew the Dent who was. That Dent lives on through your memories and mine. Thank you.”

Clarice would like to express her appreciation to all those whose support was invaluable during the more than seven years of Dent’s illness, and, especially, to Dent’s special dog, Hoppy, his constant companion through the end.

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.  

Memorials may be made to any non-profit of your choice or to the Dent and Clarice Cato Goodyear Cat and Dog Care Foundation, 10802 Tara Oaks Drive, Charlotte, North Carolina 28227. All donations to the tax-exempt Foundation are distributed to other nonprofit animal welfare organizations and do not benefit either Dent or Clarice or any of their companion animals.


Please click on the link below to view the Memorial Video Tribute to Dent.




Share your memories & condolences


  • Lorrie and Michael Henry

    My husband and I wanted to extend our deepest condolences. Michael and I met Dent in 2013 at the Charlotte Artery Gallery when he came to pick up Michael’s painting he and you purchased of our beloved (rescue) cat Teelka. We still miss our Teelka kitty terribly – she passed – even though we adopted again at Animal Care and Control. It was the “Raining Cats and Dogs” Exhibition and Fundraiser for animal care. We knew Dent and Clarice were animal lovers, but until we read the obituary we didn’t know the extent of that joyous commitment. May you be comforted and may he rest in peace.

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  • John Davis

    Thank you for the beautiful obituary. What a talented and interesting man. Wish I had experienced the privilege of knowing him. I have read each of the poems you sent to me and this gives me the impetus to go back and reread them. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

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