Claude Goodson may be a soft-spoken man, but you can often hear him coming before you can see him.
That’s because a catchy tune wafting from a sleek portable speaker will gradually announce Goodson’s presence as he strolls a hallway or enters the community room at New Community Commons Senior, where he has lived since 2005.
The speaker is connected via Bluetooth to Goodson’s mobile phone, where he stores tracks of rhythm and blues songs, soul and club music by artists such as The Whispers, Al Green and Teddy Pendergrass, among others.
“It just relaxes my mind,” Goodson, 75, said.
In his younger years, Goodson was known around town as “DJ Claude” and spun records at local bars in Newark as well as establishments like the Best Western Robert Treat Hotel. His older brother, Henry, was a deejay and Goodson said he inherited the gig after Henry was killed. Loading a van with turntables, speakers and amplifiers, Goodson said he spun tunes at wedding receptions, clubs and “oldie but goodie nights.”
He’s even brought music into Commons Senior on a few occasions. But around the senior and disabled adult complex at 140 South Orange Ave. in Newark, Goodson is better known for his generosity and giving spirit.
An active participant in the building’s events and outings, Goodson previously came up with an idea to host movie nights in the first-floor community room, Care Coordinator Doreatha Wertz said. Goodson, with the help of another resident, hauled his television down from his apartment, brought his movies and supplied popcorn and hotdogs to anyone who wanted to join, she said. “He never asks for anything in return,” Wertz said.
Recently for Mother’s Day, Goodson quietly purchased four dozen red roses and handed a rose to each woman at Commons Senior. He did this during the weekend, when all staff except security was away. “He’s a wonderful person,” Wertz added
Born in Aaronville, Ala., Goodson was the youngest of 12 children. He moved to Newark in 1959 and worked as a forklift operator for about 15 years before becoming a deejay.