Al Goldenberg, who died peacefully of cancer on Tuesday, Aug. 21, will be remembered for his 30-year- career as an electrical engineer with the NASA space program. He will no doubt also be remembered for his retirement career as one of Brevard’s top jazz musicians— the always smiling clarinetist and vocalist who put the happy into “Happy Hour” at Heidi’s Jazz Club in Coca Beach. for the past 20 years. He was there on Wednesdays and Fridays alongside pianist Steve Kirsner, who said : “Al will be greatly missed. He was a beloved figure . One of a kind.”
Until last year Al used his musical talents to raise money for his favorite charity—the Brevard County Humane Society. He was either the bandleader or featured musician with the Humane Society’s Sunday concerts, first at the Frontenac Flea Market and later at the Eau Gallie Flea Market. He started his musical career with the Bill Franz Band on Gatsby’s riverboat, the Little River Queen.
He was a member of the Space Coast Jazz Society and performed with several bands at SCJS Sunday concerts. During the past five years, he was in the Rich Abrahams Jazz Quartet that played at the annual SCJS picnic and jazz jam in Rotary Park on the river.
Charlie Mars, director of manned space operations on Project Apollo and the Space Shuttle Programs. who was Al's supervisor and is currently the director of the Space Walk of Fame (SWOF) in Titusville, remembers working with Al: "He interfaced with Rockwell Corporation management at Launch Pads 34, 39A and 39B, as well as the Shuttle Contractors on Launch Pads 39A and 39B. He also headed the Change Board for all Facility Modifications. Al was very dedicated to NASA's missions in space, expending whatever time and energies were required to accomplish his part of the mission."
Al was a great family man, He and his wife, Mardi, were married for 50 years and had two daughters, Mini and Jodi, who live in South Florida. When Al wasn’t off playing music, he spent time in the gardens of his home on Merritt Island. He was a master gardener.
- information courtesy of email by loujazzflorida to Space Coast Jazz Society members.