LUDINGTON — Anthony Goldsmith Jr said his father would always help other people, regardless of the circumstances. That’s the kind of man he was.

 

On Sunday afternoon, Anthony Goldsmith Sr., drowned in Lake Michigan after helping two other swimmers off the shore of a beach in Ludington.  Goldsmith’s body was recovered at about 6:45 a.m. Monday after washing ashore on Stearns Beach.

 

Goldsmith, 44, of Lawton, near Paw Paw, was an independent contractor at Roy’s Home Center in Gobles for more than 20 years, his son said.

 

Goldsmith and his younger son, 17-year-old Ryan Goldsmith, decided to go to the beach for the day while visiting his parents in Bitely, about an hour east of Ludington.

 

Goldsmith and son were at Stearns Beach at about 3:30 p.m. when the water suddenly became choppy, said Goldsmith Jr., who talked to his brother after the incident.

 

“They were at a relatively safe part of the beach,” Goldsmith Jr. said.

 

The father and son went into the lake to help pull a young boy and an older man who were struggling in a rip current.

 

After the two swimmers were safe, Goldsmith Jr. said his brother saw waves sweep their father away.  Goldsmith went under the water and failed to resurface.

 

Goldsmith Jr. said his father’s actions were consistent with how he lived his life — always trying to help others.

 

“If he had the chance, he would have done it over again,” the son said.

 

Goldsmith was a great father a great husband, his son said.

 

In addition to his two sons and parents, Goldsmith is survived by his wife, Sue, and two stepchildren, Paul and Karen Degraaf.  (Courtesy of The Kalamazoo Gazette)

 

 

One week after his untimely death, I cannot help but feel ashamed.  This man brought his son into Ludington for an afternoon of swimming while visiting his parents in Bitely.  He chose Ludington's Stearn's Park other than closer Lake Michigan beaches at Pentwater, etc. for some reason.  Perhaps it was because of the successful lifeguard program that had been at Stearn's Park for so long.  Lifeguards and warning flags/signs that were not there when he arrived.  We may never know. 

 

We may never know how much he knew about that day's dangerous rip currents, which affected the two swimmers he went out to help... and wound up killing him

 

Even though I had nothing directly to do with cutting the lifeguard program I feel as if I still have his blood on my hands for not more vigorously defending it when the leaders of this city unanimously gutted this program in a totally gutless manner. 

 

I extend my most heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the Goldsmith family at their loss of this wonderful man.

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Sorry for this late add, X, I could only add it to the other forum over the weekend due to my perennial computer problems. Recent vehicle problems will likely make these computer access problems continue.

What I found truly pathetic this week is Mayor Henderson's comments at the City Council meeting. How do you sleep, sir, knowing that the wet dream you thought up, the marina transient docks, kept money from being used for lifeguards, the program you have always defended until budget time last year?
Chances are Mayor Henderson's post -meeting words were just lip service, but we'll see what happens come budget time. Since he is also a firefighter and first responder, I'm sure this incident has probably hit him hard, so maybe cut him some slack for now. Spread your anger among the city council and City Master Shay.

I did read the minutes from that meeting and there was no mention of lifeguards, just a policy that is totally reactive with no emergency presence for awhile, which will end up in recoveries of bodies, not rescues of persons. Not a very tourist -friendly attitude, as a letter-writer in today's LDN pointed out.
Here we go again yet. Another young man aged 26 was washed off the north breakwall yesterday, 9/6/10, about noon in what one witnessed as a 10' wave. Thrill seeker or just no common sense? Well, we won't know now, the man is presumed drowned, and the search yet continues today for that body. And yet another fatality is upon our little berg this summer at the beach. How many more must succumb to this type tragedy before Ludington's city fathers regain their sobriety and honesty that the Lifeguard program is very much needed here, and should be reinstated for the coming summers ahead? This is a very sad summer indeed, one that we should remember for a long time when visiting the voting booths and city council meetings forthcoming.
He's from down here in Detroit. Most likely he was attending graduate school at Wayne State University on a student visa. It doesn't sound like he was familiar with the big lake and what the wind and waves are capable of. Otherwise, common sense would have dictated extreme caution under yesterday's conditions. I'm just learning myself how awesome yet dangerous the lakes can be. More pro action on the part of the city or Coast Guard would be warranted during such weather.
Update: http://www.freep.com/article/20100908/NEWS06/9080324/1320/Wind-wave...

For those who feel that this man was irresponsible, I believe he just was not aware that his personal safety was so at risk May he rest in peace.
That's right mary. I was on the breakwater when this happened. Walking to the lighthouse was windy but you could stay dry because the wind was out of the SW and the north breakwater was protected by the south breakwater. It was very deceiving and a person not familiar with wave action on the breakwater could be easily fooled into thinking that there was no danger. The problem was when you get to the lighthouse an occasional wave would wash up and if you were not paying attention you would get very wet. I might add that no lifequard could have helped him. He was thrown into the rocks by the waves. He probably could have survived if not for hitting the rocks. That is why the City must close the breakwater during high winds.
RJE,
I will believe you when you say that a lifeguard, even one who might have been on the breakwall itself at the time, would not have saved this gentleman after he was washed off.

However, the thinking behind having lifeguards is a proactive concept, and who's to say a properly trained lifeguard, wary of maritime laws and existing/previous conditions, might not have saved this life by preventing him, his party, and all others that day, from walking the breakwater in such conditions?

I posted the following at the LDN e-news article corresponding: "State law, namely MCL 324.80198a, states that such structures shall be barricaded off by authorized officials whenever 1/3 of the waves created by high winds shall make such structure awash. The Bhattachargee family has an excellent case of negligence against our community officials who allow such dangerous conditions to exist "until someone calls in an emergency", as the Ludington City Council affirmed at their last meeting. The "What Me Worry?" approach they have taken by abandoning the lifeguard program and ignoring this state law has led to two body bags-- one for Anthony Goldsmith, a man who died trying to help others and one without a body just yet"

You will likely not see it posted there, due to its unapologetic hyperbole and accuracy in laying the blame on the LDN's heroes. Here's that law in full:
Michigan Legislature - Section 324_80198a.mht
The problem with that law is "1/3 of the waves". On 9-6 it was probably 1/10 or less of the waves at the lighthouse and the breakwater walk to the lighthouse was not awash at all.
Does anyone have corroborating evidence of the wave heights that morning till about 1 pm? I know I was on my boat, and the wave action in PM Lake was whitecaps, at least 3-4' heights. Staying on board lying down was safer than trying to stand up and do anything right at the dock. Having said that, I would take opposition to earlier statements that the Lk. Michingan waves were not dangerous. Winds gusted to about 50mph at times, and never under 35mph, irregardless of the direction of SW. I would also add, and agree with other posters, that the Lifeguards would probably have barricaded that north pierhead far in advance of the accident. It is not only their duty to save lives when help calls are heard, or in undertoe conditions, but to timely prevent any tragedy in advance. I just don't understand anyone's thought process that says at this time and after these occurrences, summer of 2010, a date that will live in eternity for locals, that the Lifeguard program for Ludington should remain canceled for our future safety. It is unconscionable and totally irresponsible to think otherwise imho.
From your pictures I gained that the law may not have applied that day to the breakwall, but a concerned warning from a lifeguard at the start of the breakwall, even without a barricade or law backing them up, may have been enough to prevent the tragedy. The victim in this case would have been smart enough to be more careful with such a warning based on trained observations and experiences.

I have seen times when the aforementioned law would have come into effect, during the tourist season before this year, where the pier was not closed off. The city policy has no such provision.
A generation ago, our part-paid volunteer Ludington Fire Department of 20 trained firefighters were given less money than the raise given and approved by all of our city councilors this year to the City Attorney. The seven or more Lifeguards last year were paid less money than this City Attorney raise in their totality.

Our new City Attorney, Richard Wilson of Manistee, oversaw the oversight of continuing the lifeguard program last year (probably with the homily that it was more potential liability with them than without) and reaffirmed the twisted policy the City Council agreed to last week-- effectively a policy of 'give us a call, and we'll get the bods out for you'. Heartless, and in the overall scheme of things for the betterment of our community, brainless, IMHO.
The needless blood of the dead should weigh heavy on those whose decisions were careless and filled with childish paranoia, esp. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Shay. Checkmate pal!

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