Cover photo for Dr. Gary Goodnight's Obituary
Dr. Gary Goodnight Profile Photo
1953 Dr. Gary Goodnight 2023

Dr. Gary Goodnight

March 15, 1953 — September 22, 2023

Dr. Gary D. Goodnight, 70, Abilene physician as well as medical and community leader, passed away at the family residence on September 22, 2023.

Gary was born to Charles Donald Goodnight and Ellen Painter Goodnight on March 15, 1953, in Meade, Kansas. In 1976, he wed Jean Marie Townsend in Frederick, Oklahoma, and they recently celebrated 47 years of marriage. They were blessed with two daughters, Ashley and Lauren.

A graduate of the School of Pharmacy, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, in Weatherford, Oklahoma, he practiced pharmacy for five years in Shawnee, Oklahoma, then attended medical school at Oklahoma State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa.

He was accepted for post-graduate residency training in otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery in Detroit, Michigan, where he was chief surgical resident.

Board certified, Gary specialized primarily in otolaryngology and otolaryngologic allergy. He practiced for six years in the Palm Beach, Florida area before moving to Abilene where he joined ENT Specialists of Abilene with Dr. Jeffrey Braaten, his close friend from medical school.

After practicing medicine for over 30 years, one of the joys of his career was the recent transition to a clinical practice with his daughter, Dr. Ashley Hall, at their Abilene Allergy office.

As a leader in the medical community, Gary was Chief of Staff for Hendrick Health in 2011-2012. He was a member of the Medical Executive Committee for ten years and served as Chair and Vice Chair of the Credential Committee.  One of his greatest accomplishments was chairing the healthcare system’s Diversity Committee, which was instrumental in establishing the Dr. Butler Scholarship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity.

In November of 2021, he was appointed medical director/health authority of the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District. This gave him the opportunity to provide insight and healthcare education to the entire community.

His dedication to the Abilene community also extended to other organizations. He currently served as chair of the board of the Presbyterian Medical Care Mission where he championed its mission of caring for the uninsured.  He especially enjoyed participating in their fundraising productions at the Paramount Theatre.

In 2022, three generations of the Goodnight family, Jean and Gary, Ashley and Jason Hall and their two sons, Webb and Ellis, served as chairs for the United Way campaign raising funds for numerous non-profits that strive to make Abilene a better place to live.

Gary was an art aficionado as well as an artist. A long-time supporter of The Grace Museum, he was currently in his ninth year on the board, two of which he served as chair. He also chaired the Exhibition and Collections Committee as well as the Science Committee for The Grace at Heritage Square.

As an active member of First Baptist Church, he enjoyed his Sunday School class, serving as a deacon and attending weekly meetings with his men’s prayer group. 

He was an avid pilot, having soloed on his sixteenth birthday and obtaining his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.  He then became instrument and commercial rated and was a Certified Flight Instructor.  One of his most prized possessions was his Cessna 182 commonly known as “Charlene.”  Family members affectionately referred to the plane as his “second wife.” He especially loved taking off before dawn so he could watch the sunrise among the clouds. He also enjoyed taking his grandkids on flights, letting them take the “stick.” 

Gary was a “Renaissance Man” because of his many interests and skills. He was a golfer, wakeboarder,  snow skier, fly fisherman, and loved to travel. He maintained a map of the world with pins of where he and Jean had visited.  His main passion, however, remained his wife, his daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren who knew him best as Cap.

He was a caring person whether he was being a doctor or friend or husband or father. He was a man with heart.  His patients knew it. His friends knew it. His family knew it.  His heart led him to touch many lives and make an impact on his community. His is a life to be remembered. He fought the good fight; he finished the race; and he kept the faith. 

He will be missed by many including his wife, Jean; his daughters and their husbands: Ashley and Jason Hall of Abilene, Texas; and Lauren and Carlton Ellis of Houston, Texas; grandchildren, Webb and Ellis Hall and Paige, Jane and Matthew Ellis; brother and sister-in-law, Kim and Beth Goodnight; and nieces, Mandy and her husband, Meurig Cundy and Erin and her husband, Michael Gillott.    

A visitation will be held on September 27, 2023, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the home of Jeff and Susan Braaten, 1314 Elmwood Drive.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at 11 a.m at First Baptist Church, Abilene, 1333 North 3rd St, directed by The Hamil Family Funeral Home. Burial will take place on Friday, September 29, at 10 a.m. at the Buffalo Gap Cemetery, 3226 FM 89, Buffalo Gap, Texas.

Memorials may be made to The Grace Museum, the Presbyterian Medical Care Mission, or the charity of your choice.             

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Gary Goodnight, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Home of Jeff & Susan Braaten

1314 Elmwood Dr, Abilene, TX 79605

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Funeral Service

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First Baptist Church

1333 N 3rd, Abilene, TX 79601

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Graveside Service

Friday, September 29, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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