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Gregory “Catman” Good leaves a legacy of self-expression and encouragement for others to ‘Express yourself’

Gregory “Catman” Good

Gregory “Catman” Good leaves a legacy of self-expression and encouragement for others to ‘Express yourself’
July 11
00:10 2019

Local Celebrity passes away at age 62

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D.

The Winston-Salem community lost a loving local celebrity on Friday, July 5, when Gregory “Catman” Good passed away in hospice care after a lengthy illness. Known as the Carolina Panthers’ most famous fan, Good traveled to Clemson University in 1995 to watch the inaugural season of the NFL franchise and to Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium to support his team from 1996 until 2017 when his health began to decline. For more than 22 years, Catman has been a dazzling icon on the Panthers’ field, signing autographs, cheering the team and pumping up the crowd. His son, Greg Good, Jr., now 31, plans to keep his father’s legacy alive by making sure that Catman’s seat on Row 1, Section 104, Seat 7 is still occupied by a Pop-Locking Panther.

Gregory “Catman” Good, has always been comfortable as the center of attention. One of his earliest stages was in his own living room mirror in the Bowen Park community on East 24th Street in Winston-Salem, where he grew up with his parents Robert and Claudette Good, and his siblings Frances, Doug (Maxine) and Katrina (Maurice). It was a common occurrence to hear his music blasting as he danced to the song “Express Yourself” by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. The lyrics of this song echo his drive for self-expression:  “Express yourself! Express yourself! … Some people have everything and other people don’t/ But everything don’t mean a thing if it ain’t the thing you want. Express yourself!”

Good found a myriad of ways to express himself as an artist. He graduated from North Forsyth High School where he played football and threw the shot put and the discus on the men’s track team. At Winston-Salem State University, he majored in fine art and psychology, but he also earned All-CIAA in the shot put and discus, performed with the Drama Guild, led WSSU’s ROTC Fancy Drill Team, and was an undefeated “Pop-Lock” dancer at the Student Union during his tenure in Ram’s Land. Good worked with the Alexander Youth Network as an in-home therapist. He worked for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools as a special education instructor by day, but his dancing skills spilled over into the community by night.

In the Bowen Park Community, two of his friends – Cedric Moser and Ben Piggott – as well as other performers joined him in dancing and singing at various local talent competitions. Moser and Good were both Fine Art majors at WSSU, members of the track team, and they hooked up with Ben Piggott to compete at a Hanes Mall talent show in 1981. They called themselves the Bowen Park Brothers, which Good suggested. On their first time out, they won second place in the lip-synching contest called “Puttin’ on the Hits” by rapping and singing “In Jail Without Bail” by The Fat Boys. The first-place winner was a guy who sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” by Aretha Franklin in full drag.

“There was no way we could compete with that act,” said Moser. “He was dressed and talented.”

Moser and Good worked together in a business Good created called Dr. Good’s Creative Video in 1985. They worked together for six years and Greg, Jr. helped his dad with this project after that.

Piggott recalled that he and Good would often compete in various dance contests at local clubs such as the Black Velvet, Disco 311, Sugar Bears, and others talent arenas. They practiced together while watching Soul Train, watching the dance moves of Jeffrey Daniels of Shalamar, and learning grooves from youth in the community. Sometimes they won trophies, or a check for $150 or more. They were having fun.

“We actually watched and studied the dances on Soul Train. We were sliding on dirt from the Red Field, a basketball court in Bowen Park, while doing the Moon Walk. We would be pantomiming like we were pulling a rope, pulling ourselves up by the collar, pulling our hands as if we are in a mirror, floating as if suspended from an umbrella, roping, popping, and locking,” Piggott said. “We would come home from college and that’s how we came together. We would go to Goodwill, buy a big coat, a skinny tie, baggy pants, a big apple hat, white gloves, something black and white. We took the people back to Vaudeville. Gregory even put lights on his hands and shoes.”

Gregory eventually auditioned for a group called Sounds in Action, under the direction of the late Horace Fulton. Some of the other members of the group included LaTreva Mumford, Monica Johnson, Bobby Roebuck, Julius Parker, and Jackie Moser, who eventually became his wife of more than 20 years and the mother of his three children – Greg (Jasmine) Good, Jr.,  Candace (Demorris) Carpenter, and Chris (Lakesia) Good. Good has been blessed with six grandchildren.

Piggott recalled that one of the most important dances they attended took place at a neighborhood youth club and cafe called The Zodiac Room. It was located on East 23rd Street. Piggott and Gregory went to a dance there one night when they were 18 years old. Outside the game room, Rev. James Wright was witnessing to young people about finding Jesus Christ. Good and Piggott stopped to listen to Rev. Wright and by the time the conversation was over, they stood in the parking lot and prayed to receive salvation. Rev. Wright even went with them to talk to their parents about their decision to become Christians. 

“This was one of the most significant decisions we made together, because it had an impact on our lives for the rest of our lives. We are now 62 years old and we still honor the commitment we made,” said Piggott. “I am not saying that we have been perfect, but we made a choice that transformed our lives for the better, and we did it together. We never forgot that.”

Gregory “Catman” Good enjoyed expressing himself and he gave all people within his reach the permission to do the same. He will be greatly missed. His funeral service will be held at Christ Kingdom Building Worship Center on Sunday, July 14 at 3 p.m. The visitation will be held at 2-3 p.m. at the same church located at 3894 Northampton Drive in Winston-Salem. Gifts and flowers can be sent to 4401 Eagles Nest Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27127.

 

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