During a strike mission in the Tanh Hoa province enemy ground fire hit the nose of his plane.
"My dad went down with the plane," Stein said.
The family never knew what happened to their father. His wife June always wondered, and hoped one day they'd bring him home.
"He was the love of her life, yeah. She talked about it all the time," Stein said.
June held onto the memories of him, like the time she learned to play the cymbals so she could be with him in the high school band, or the champagne they shared in celebration after a long tour, but she never saw him again.
It was a week after her death this past November that they finally got the call.
"He said, ‘I have good news for you and it's 99.9 percent your father,' and of course then I just lost it. I think it was more because my mom had just passed," Stein said.
After 42 years the military found the fallen Thunderbird's bones at a grave site in a village south of Hanoi.
A witness led archeologists to the burial ground.
"All these years we've wondered: Did he just crash and die and nobody cared? But apparently somebody did care so that is a good thing," Stein said.
Forensic experts identified Goodman from a few bone fragments at the central identification laboratory in Hawaii.
The family is there now, retracing the last few seconds of his life and four decades that led up to his belated homecoming.
"It was amazing that what was recovered was identifiable, that just blows me away," said Christine Stonebraker, another of Goodman's daughters.
"We wanted this to be a celebration of his return and it will be in every bit of the way," said son Russ Goodman.
"There's some really odd things like that. I like to call them Godly," Stein said.
After a life apart, Russell and June found each other in the end.
"For me, that's closure," Stein said.
To the three kids left behind, their father is no longer just an iconic picture of an era, but a real story of hope that beats both time and reason.
The Air Force will place the remains in a draped casket and send it from Hawaii to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada for a special funeral service by the Thunderbirds later this week.
The family plans to spread both their mother and father's ashes together on Skyline Mountain near Sterling.
Contact Ashton Goodell at email@example.com