Died 29 January 2020
Jesuit Father Paul J. Goda, emeritus professor of law at Santa Clara University, died January 29, 2020 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos at the age of 88.
Fr. Goda was born in Los Angeles on April 30, 1931. He won a four-year scholarship to Loyola High School, where he excelled in debating. He graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University, Los Angeles in 1952 as a history major and accepted an Air Force ROTC commission, where he served as an Intelligence Officer, 1952-54. He credited that experience as giving him insight into the complexities of the world around him. After leaving the service, he studied law at Loyola University Law School for one year and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos in 1955.
His Jesuit studies were made at Los Gatos, Gonzaga University for philosophy studies (BA, 1959), Georgetown University Law Center (JD, 1963), and Alma College, Los Gatos for theology (MTS, 1967). He was ordained a priest in Hollywood in 1966 and admitted to the California Bar in 1964. Fr. Goda then attended New York University Law Center, 1967-69, receiving an LLM. He later did a one-year fellowship in law and the humanities at Harvard Law School.
After completion of studies in 1969, Fr. Goda began a 50-year association with Clara University Law School. He taught a variety of subjects, specializing in contracts, community property, wills and trusts, and jurisprudence. He became emeritus in 2009 and remained in close contact with faculty, students, and alumni. A garden of native plants in the new law center has been named in his honor. In 2019, Fr. Goda moved to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, where he continued to research and give talks to the community on current events.
In addition to his teaching, Fr. Goda was actively engaged in other areas. He served on the board of trustees of Santa Clara University and the University of San Francisco. In the wider civic community, he was on the board of Santa Clara County’s anti-poverty agency, Economic and Social Opportunities; The Advisory Board for the Young Parents Center in Santa Clara; the Biomedical Ethics Committee of San Jose Hospital among others. His priestly ministry included presiding at the marriages, baptisms, and funerals for many alumni, Masses for Religious Sisters, and chaplaincy to prisoners in the county jail. In recent years, he found special satisfaction in his service to the San Jose/Santa Clara Chinese Catholic Community.
He was proud of his Hungarian-American heritage and visited the homeland of his immigrant parents.
Fr. Goda is survived by his brother, Alex (Karen) of Los Angeles, his niece Tracy Silverman and grandniece Alexandria Silverman, his cousin Wanda Bailey, and others of his family.