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Trunnis Goggins, longtime owner of Skateland

Jan. 19, 1934 – Nov. 5, 2013

Trunnis Goggins, longtime owner of Skateland, who closed every skating session by saying, “Yes baby, it’s time to go home,” died Tuesday in Buffalo General Medical Center after a long illness. He was 79.

“That’s what he always would say, and now that is what he did. He went home,” said daughter Marina White. “He was a character.”

Mr. Goggins, who opened Skateland in the early 1960s at 1300 Main St., could often be found at the rink spinning old-school records, his daughter said. He also hired live entertainment to perform at the rink, bringing in big acts like Gladys Knight, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick.

“His business was his life, and he was a brilliant businessman,” said daughter Terasa Gipson.

A lifelong resident of the Buffalo area, Mr. Goggins was one of 12 children. He grew up in the Cold Spring section of the city and attended Fosdick-Masten Park High School.

He started working at age 9 shining shoes. As a teenager he worked in a chicken factory on Jefferson Avenue, and in his spare time he changed tires in an auto repair shop.

In his early 20s he began to drive trucks for a living, first delivering chickens for processing and then delivering Coca-Cola. Mr. Goggins also entered into several business ventures out of state.

But his star really shone for his skating rinks.

After closing his first skating rink on Main Street, he opened New Skateland Arena on East Ferry Street. The rink was located on the first floor. On the second floor was the Vermillion Room, a night club that invited patrons to “go up to get down.”

Mr. Goggins was a fixture at the club. “He would often sit at the bar with his customers engaged in conversation over a glass of J&B Scotch Whisky,” White said. “He made people laugh. He loved to tell stories. He was a philosopher. He held the key to life.”

Mr. Goggins collected sports cars and classic foreign cars. He also liked the sport of boxing.

He is survived by his wife, the former Susan A. Greene; two sons, Trunnis II and David; four daughters, Terasa Gipson, Salina Lebris, Anita Goggins and Marina White; two brothers, Douglas and Exirtis; and three sisters, Priscilla Bonds, Sarah Pittman and Lorraine Williams.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at The Chapel at Crosspoint, 500 Crosspoint Parkway, Getzville.

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