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Matlacha Hooker founder Nancy Goodwin 'retiring' to Virginia

January 31, 2018
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

A surprise farewell party was held for the Matlacha Hookers' first madam, Nancy Goodwin, Sunday at Olde Fish House Marina. Goodwin founded the Matlacha Hookers in 1998 and after 22 years on the island is relocating to Virginia.

In 1998, a group of 21 women got together and decided to 'make a difference in our community." In a 2014 interview with the Eagle, Goodwin explained the beginnings of the Matlacha Hookers.

"What started the Matlacha Hookers, was I guess a kind of vision," Goodwin said. "It all began with gold fishhooks that my husband was giving away," Goodwin said. "He kept them on his hat and occasionally someone would ask for one. After a while several ladies had them and someone came up with the name 'Matlacha Hookers' and I thought we could do some good with this."

Article Photos

Matlacha Hooker founder Nancy Goodwin addresses crowd during a surprise farewell party held in her honor.

ED FRANKS

Twenty years later the Matlacha Hookers are still making an impact on Pine Island.

About 50 people, many of them members of the Hookers, waited for Goodwin's arrival at noon.

"I'm in shock," Goodwin said. "When I came here 22 years ago with my husband, Dana, I said 'I just want to find some friends,'" Goodwin said. "But what I found was a family, my Pine Island family, and I just want you to know I love you all so much."

Among the gifts were a large "Farewell" Matlacha Hooker cake and a very special quilt made from every Matlacha Hooker T-shirt since the organizations inception.

"Today it's all about Nancy," 3rd Hooker Madam Debbie Cundall said. "We hate to see her go but she's always in our hearts. Nancy may be gone but she's always in our hearts and there are a lot of people who have left us who are shining down. Way back 22 years ago, Nancy was working at Bert's and her husband Dana began handing out gold hooks and 21 women started the Matlacha Hookers and here we are today."

In the 2014 Eagle interview, Goodwin said, "I just thought we could do something for the island in a charitable fashion. The women that joined when we started, and every woman that has joined since then, are the finest women to walk the planet. These girls are all about heart, not about recompense, and what they can do for the community. At our first fishing tournament we raised $4,000. At that point in time, that was the largest money-raising event ever held on the island. Not only did we raise money, we raised the self esteem of every woman involved."

In a recent letter to the editor, former Madam Lorie Tidwell quoted a favorite saying of Goodwin. "Who'd have thunk?"

"An era comes to a soft close this month for the Matlacha Hookers," Tidwell wrote. "Nancy's vision and goal for the Hookers was to make a positive difference in our community... This has been realized in many ways over the years... On Sunday, Nancy's ex-Madams and many Hookers and friends came to wish her well (no Good Byes only see you later's)... Her strength, vision, support and encouragement have touched so many. She is leaving Pine Island a better place because of her involvement. To repeat Madam Nancy's first Eagle quote, "Who'd have thunk" one person's vision could make such a difference. But it has and her legacy will continue."

 
 

 

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