William T. Goss, a retired history teacher and dedicated member of the Kenmore West High School community, died Aug. 5 in his Town of Tonawanda home following a lengthy illness. He was 69.
Mr. Goss was born in Buffalo and attended Kenmore public schools. An argument with his eighth-grade teacher over the appropriate minimum age for voting inspired him to pursue a career as an educator.
Mr. Goss graduated from Kenmore High School, where he played on the offensive and defensive lines of the varsity football team.
He was awarded an academic scholarship to attend Hamilton College, where he majored in American history. Mr. Goss later received a master's degree in American history from the University at Buffalo.
He was hired to teach social studies at Kenmore West in September 1967, and retired after 31 years of service in 1998.
During his long tenure at the high school, Mr. Goss was a strong advocate for students and was well known for his energetic style of teaching.
"I think he was the best teacher I ever knew," said his close friend, Kenneth Sherry, who taught Spanish and coached football and baseball at Kenmore West.
Mr. Goss encouraged thoughtful debate on the issues of the day in his civics classes and urged seniors who had turned 18 to vote in the fall elections.
He coached the mock trial team at the high school for a decade, inviting members to his home for practices but waiting in the hallway outside court during the competitions because watching was too stressful for him.
Mr. Goss also coached the junior varsity football team for five years and served as the announcer at football games for 20 years. And he kept score at basketball, baseball and field hockey contests.
He was a firm believer in social justice. Sherry recalled a JV football game when Mr. Goss heard one of his white players call a black player from Jamestown High School a racial slur.
"Bill went absolutely berserk. I've never seen him madder," said Sherry, who was watching from the stands.
Mr. Goss also was instrumental in the founding of the school's Faculty Senate and served as its chairman.
He was a longtime Buffalo Bills season-ticket holder who was in the stands for the team's heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV.
Following his retirement, Mr. Goss and his wife, the former Ann Marie Mars, who died in 2005, enjoyed traveling across the country, often to visit their children and grandchildren.
He volunteered for many years with Ken-Ton Meals on Wheels and he received an award from the Food Shuttle of Western New York for his dedicated service to that organization.
Survivors include three sons, Tim, Sean and Michael; a daughter, Kathleen; and a sister, Patricia Duncan.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Court, Buffalo.
-- Stephen T. Watson