In the late 1940s, Ted C. Connell and Paul Goode came to Killeen as ambitious, idealistic young men and formed a lifelong friendship and business partnership that was instrumental in developing the area.
“I think they were some of the first people in Killeen,” said Ted’s wife, Diane Connell, jokingly.
Connell and Goode embarked on several business ventures throughout the years, including real estate and banking, and served on a number of boards together, overseeing the construction of some of the city’s historic landmarks.
“They believed in making the community better and trying to leave it better than what they found it,” Diane Connell said.
She married Ted, a former Killeen mayor, in 1974. She said the two friends were more like brothers.
“They were two guys that just had a good time together; they both had a great sense of humor,” Diane Connell said. “Every time you were around them it was entertainment and a lot of laughter and looking on the bright side of things.”
The Connell and Goode families also maintained a tight-knit relationship, going on family trips and spending holidays together.
Goode’s daughter, Paula Goode-Lohse, recalls the experience of growing up in Killeen along with the Connell clan.
“Our families have been friends for as long as I can remember,” Goode-Lohse said. “We went on a lot of trips together and in fact, the two families attended both inaugurations for Lyndon Johnson together and Ted and my father attended Kennedy’s inaugurations.”
After Goode died in 1995 and Connell in 2001, their children, Goode-Lohse and John Goode and Mark and Carol Connell, remained close, said Goode-Lohse, who recently attended the wedding of Ted Connell’s grandson.
“We’re all still really good friends,” she said.
In 2005, Diane Connell, Goode-Lohse and John Goode donated 14 acres of land purchased by Goode and Connell to the city that in October officially became the site of Goode-Connell Park in Harker Heights.
“I really believe that my dad and Ted would have been really pleased,” Lohse said.
“I’m honored and privileged to be able to do this. I know my parents and Ted and Diane felt that we ought to give back to our communities and that’s always been important to us.”
On Oct. 28 several members from both families gathered at the Goode-Connell Park for a grand opening ceremony in honor of the family’s patriarchs.
“I’m really proud,” Diane Connell said. “I’m truly delighted and very lucky to have been a part of that.”