Jim and Linda Goforth in 1973. Courtesy photo
Jim and Linda Goforth at their wedding ceremony in 1989. Courtesy photo
Jim and Linda Goforth now. Courtesy photo
On July 5, 1973, James H. Goforth wed Linda G. Goforth at the Court House in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Jim and Linda were drawn together by the familiarity of similar childhoods and a love of nature and camping. Linda remembers, “it was like coming home to someone”. After years becoming best friends, one day it simply became clear to each of them that they were made for each other.
For their honeymoon, they went camping in Colorado. They have kept up the tradition of camping ever since, passing on their love of fishing, hiking, hunting, sightseeing, and photography to their children and grandchildren.
In fall 1973, Jim, Linda, and son Bobby moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico as Jim began his time in the Air Force stationed at Kirkland Air Force Base. In 1976, their daughter Leslie was born. After three years of occasionally working with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and only six months after Leslie was born, Jim left the Air Force for a full-time position at the Lab, and the family moved to Los Alamos. Linda began work at the Ark Daycare, and then the Los Alamos Public Schools, working at Mountain, Aspen, and Los Alamos High School over the years.
In 1980, Jim and Linda moved to Eastern Area, building their own home, which they still live in today. After being in Los Alamos for 13 years – long enough to have established friends and a community, Jim and Linda had a full wedding ceremony in Fuller Lodge on August 18, 1989, packed full of family and friends.
Over the years, the Goforth home has hosted many parties, dinners, music recitals, sports practices, and more. The annual LANL group Christmas parties filled the home to capacity with laughter and holiday cheer, while the percussion instruments for the Los Alamos Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra filled the space with anticipation during each concert season. Each Halloween the home was filled with ghouls and goblins and the occasional toothbrush, pair of dice, or clown for costume parties. Birthdays and accomplishments are always celebrated, and friends are always welcome and cherished, even today.
Jim and Linda’s home has always been open to others, providing a family to many when they need it, and reminding people they matter and are valued. Their hospitality has taught others how easy it is to love one another, and the importance of gathering simply to connect and support one other.
Jim and Linda also hosted visiting Russian scientists for many years, serving an important role in improving international relations. They found common ground with each visitor sitting around the dinner table, laughing, and getting to know each person and their families. Jim and Linda also took the visiting Russians on three different trips to see more of the southwest, visiting sights such as the Grand Canyon, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Arches, Carlsbad Caverns, and the White Sands National Parks.
As active parents and grandparents, Jim and Linda loved attending Hilltoppers football and basketball games, traveling around the state to cheer on the marching band and golf team, watch dive meets and soccer games, or attend various gymnastic meets. They were right up front for every theater performance, band and choir concert, Topper Review, Irish dance show, spelling bee, and awards banquet. Science Fair projects have been a tradition for three generations, and supporting education remains a foundational belief, even now that their grandchildren are grown. Soon, a new generation of great-grandchildren will have school projects, performances, and sports. It will be no surprise to see Jim and Linda in their usual seats, up front, cameras in hand.
As active community members, Jim and Linda have been a part of many organizations over the years, supporting Los Alamos’ unique history, school events, the arts and cultural groups, and their church – The United Church. Over the years, they have reached out to serve the community through simple acts, such as dropping seed balls after Cerro Grande, building a handicap ramp for someone in need, removing dying trees, researching and advocating for historic assets like the Post Office, and speaking at events such as the Homestead dedication. The list would go on for pages and pages if each act of service was counted.
In 2023, Jim celebrates his 47th year at LANL – 50, if you count the three he worked with the Lab during his time in the Air Force. He is an example to all how you can raise the bar, and then teach and inspire others to reach it. Work life balance is important though, and Jim makes sure to take the time to whisk Linda away into the mountains to hunt for wildflowers, go fishing, and enjoy the majesty of scenery they are surrounded by – just as they did 50 years ago.
Jim and Linda are the parents of Bobby Umstead (Renee) and their five grand pups who live in Colorado; and Leslie (Goforth) Bucklin and her four daughters, grandchildren Amanda Bucklin, Lauren (Bucklin) Lippiatt, Megan Bucklin, and Mikala Bucklin of Los Alamos; and great-grandparents to Atticus and Magnolia Lippiatt, Lauren’s children.