Lois Goodall was born July 18, 1938 in Odessa, Missouri to a father who was a farmer and a teacher mother. Goodall went to college to become a teacher, and her freshman year met a young sophomore gentleman by the name of Pat Goodall. They married and while Goodall attended graduate school at the University of Missouri, she taught fifth grade. After Pat earned his Ph.D., they moved to Arizona State University, where he taught political science, and then to the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, and finally to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Goodall enjoyed hosting various celebrities and faculty, was responsible for raising three children, and found time to earn her Master of Education degree in reading education and curriculum. She received her Master’s hood from her husband, the president of UNLV, at her graduation.