When he took early retirement last summer from Merrill Lynch, Greencastle native Mike Goss decided he wasn't quite ready to quit working -- and proceeded to take on a job in law in addition to the job he already held serving as pastor of a Putnam County church.
For the past six years, Goss has been the pastor at Big Walnut Missionary Baptist Church in Reelsville. Recently, he joined the Greencastle law firm of Sutherlin & Zeiner, where he is now a practicing attorney.
"A lot of people are surprised that someone would be both an attorney and a pastor," Goss said. "But I do some of the same things, no matter which hat I'm wearing. And now that I've retired from the corporate world, I can focus on what matters most in life -- helping other people."
Goss currently resides in Danville, but is planning to relocate to Putnam County. Although he originally moved away from Greencastle in 1972, he has always had ties to the community.
"My parents always lived here and my wife's family lives here," he said.
Goss is the son of the late Abe and Geneva Goss, who lived in Greencastle. His wife Rita is the daughter of Jim and Margaret Flater of Coatesville.
Goss graduated from Greencastle High School, DePauw University and the Indiana University School of law at Indianapolis. His career has included stints as a vice president of the retirement group of Merrill Lynch, with Towers Perrin in Chicago as an employee benefits consultant and as head of employee communications for CNA Insurance, also in Chicago.
After he graduated from DePauw, Goss was a reporter and editor for the Banner Graphic and for the Journal Review in Crawfordsville.
"It's great being back home," he said. "It's good to be in a place where my wife and I know just about everyone we meet and to see that they still know us. It's also great to be able to help people deal with some of the most important and challenging aspects of their lives as an attorney and pastor."
Goss is happy to be returning to the small town life.
"In part it's just being here, but it's also practicing law in this kind of setting," he said. "It gives me a chance to do something meaningful. I've helped individuals be named guardians of children, helped people plan their estates and helped a farm family through a dispute. I've done lots of different things. I enjoy helping people to do things that matter."
Goss most enjoys the human aspect of practicing law.
"A lot of what you do as an attorney is listen and counsel," he said. "You're dealing with people's emotions at some of the most difficult times in their lives."
Goss doesn't know that his story is all that rare.
"I think a large number of people who retire are looking for something better; to start another phase in their lives," he said. "I'm kind of living that dream, and I'm able to contribute to others and contribute to the community."