Gregory Good, Past President of AARO
This message bears sad news. Gregory Good, Past President of AARO, died in December 2022.
He was elected to lead AARO in 1994 at our 20th anniversary Annual General Meeting and served in that position for four years, leading AARO to the half-way mark of the 50th anniversary of AARO we celebrate this year.
Gregory, articulate, charming and genuinely interested in others, served AARO with dedication and led with energy, enthusiasm, intelligence and a very active sense of humor.
In pursuit of AARO’s mission, he immediately dedicated much time and energy to advancing AARO’s cooperation with other member organizations, then under the umbrella of the World Federation of Americans Abroad, to permit AARO to represent the unified voice of Americans abroad in Washington with greater weight than it ever had before. To this end, Gregory not only served as President of AARO but also, from 1992 to 1995, also as the Chairman of the World Federation of Americans Abroad, among the members of which in addition to AARO figured the Regional American Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO), and various other groups.
During his tenure AARO organized, on a nonpartisan basis, the AARO Election Watch USA '96 hosting, as an all-night extravaganza ending over breakfast, the US Election Watch Night with US Ambassador to France Pamela Harriman present along with the Marine Color Guard. The event was supported as well by the Democrat and Republican organizations.
AARO’s accomplishments under Gregory Good’s leadership included remarkable success in the passage of legislation permitting Americans abroad to use an expedited procedure to naturalize their children as American citizens and in registering overseas voters, disseminating voting information and working to improve voting procedures for Americans overseas through constant contact with the Federal Voting Assistance Program in the Department of Defense.
AARO monitored, under Gregory’s term, as it continues to do today under the leadership of our President Doris Speer, when congressional debates consider matters that may negatively affect the interests of Americans abroad, as was the case in March 1996 during budget compromise discussions that risked overturning the § 26 USC 911 foreign earned income exemption.
At the 22nd AARO Annual Meeting, President Gregory Good welcomed the attendees and introduced Ambassador Harriman as a loyal friend and consistent supporter of AARO and its work on behalf of overseas Americans and delivered an enthusiastic and heartfelt tribute to Phyllis Michaux, a founder of AARO in 1972 who actively participated in AARO’s development over its first decades.
As an example of Gregory Good’s and of AARO’s representation of the interests of Americans abroad, Gregory met with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her visit to Paris in February 1997.
As Gregory wrote in the January 1998 AARO Newsletter:
Looking back …, we can be proud of the progress we have made in a number of areas - citizenship, continuing voter registration (and awareness of the importance of voting), taxation, and inclusion in the US Census.
…the struggle continues to make ourselves recognized as true Americans, important to the social and economic well-being of our fellow Americans back home.
Let's be frank: You all know that it is not an easy struggle. The isolationist mentality still persists in Washington, despite a minority of exceptions, and this is because too many Americans still see themselves as independent from the rest of the world. We who live and work overseas know that this is not the case, but our challenge is to make the folks back home aware of what we have learned living abroad, at the same time reassuring them that we haven't become "foreigners" in the pejorative sense!
AARO has also introduced, as you know, a new insurance plan.
Subsequently, Gregory wrote in the January 1998 AARO Newsletter:
Life is about growing up, but at least those of us who have a few years behind us know that the growing process never ends unless we choose otherwise.
The collective spirit, if I may call it such, is reflected in conversations among members at AARO events as well as in the deliberations of AARO's board. It is a constant process of self-criticism and motivation to evolve and grow, continue the good fight on behalf of Americans overseas with Congress, the administration, and the White House, and strive to respond to our members' developing and changing needs and interests.
I will end with a … wish of my own. lt is that AARO, now a quarter of a century old, may grow and prosper like the country that its members represent. America the Beautiful is a geographic entity, but it is also a psychological and spiritual entity, a state of mind. And it remains home to all Americans, wherever they may live and work, with memories of years past and hopes for a better future.
Finally, Gregory closed his “President’s Corner” remarks in the AARO March 1998 AARO Newsletter saying:
I have learned a great deal during these four years as AARO's president about the problems Americans overseas have, the challenges we face back home in the US being recognized as "real" Americans, and about the courage and dedication of certain individuals who truly give of themselves in the effort to improve the lives and working conditions of other Americans abroad.
Today, we stand in appreciation of Gregory Good having done just that: giving of himself in the effort to improve the lives and working conditions of other Americans abroad.
Thank you, Gregory.