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Walter Bryghte Godbold, Jr.

December 3, 1926 July 10, 2020
Walter Bryghte Godbold, Jr.
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Obituary for Walter Bryghte Godbold, Jr.

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
We frequently hear that the world is poorer in the face of someone's death. Let it instead be said that the world is a far better place because of Walter Bryghte Godbold, for the good he did is the kind of good that endures. He lived, breathed, and walked in joy and the people he encountered felt it deeply. There was something about the man, something abiding and strong. His mere presence was life giving to those around him. Hear the words of one who knew him well: “We see God through the lives of other people. To know Walter Godbold was to see the face of God.”
Walter left an indelible mark on the lives of people from young to old. His love for children and youth was so readily apparent that they were naturally drawn to him. And it was equally natural that Walter set himself to be a gentle mentor to each young person that he knew. Never heavy handed nor preachy, he had the gift of asking good questions while showing the kids the time of their lives in his wood-working shop, Scout and church camps, and the camp retreat that he and his wife Sue built. Shaping the lives of the next generation was a trust Walter took seriously. He was ever widening the circle, opening the invitation, and deepening the disciple-making that was going on at the same time. He took it seriously, yes, but he also took it as fun and with all his heart shared the joy and fun with others. It was said, “If you want to have fun, go with Walter Godbold! His fun-loving spirit makes the most ordinary experience extra ordinary - or shall we say, anything but ordinary!”
The Reverend Sarah Currie, a member of a generation inspired by Walter, wrote a tribute to him in a letter: “I know you to be a man of incredible strength with such a calm, compassionate, centered nature that you bless all of us who are honored to know you. I remember as a child being warmed and lifted by your smile, the twinkle in your eye that let us know it was a good day to be alive, your kind attention, your joy in living. I could always count on you being the same; strong, sweet, faithful man. I know things about God that I would not know but for your unique channeling of it.”
Walter knew what it meant to translate his love for Christ into service and that was abundantly expressed in his devotion to his church and community. Dear to his heart was the mission of Bethlehem Center where he served on the board for many years. He worshiped at Capitol Street United Methodist Church until its closure at which time he joined Galloway United Methodist Church. He served in leadership roles at both churches and was involved in many facets of service including Chairman of the Official Board, Chairman of the Trustees, president of his adult Sunday school class, children’s Sunday School teacher, and youth counselor. Always sensitive to the needs of others, he devoted many hours to delivering Meals on Wheels and working with Habitat for Humanity and disaster relief teams. He shared his engineering skills in helping to meet the needs of property care and maintenance of the facilities He left his touch all over the building and in the hearts of the members of the congregation. He loved his church and his church loved him.
Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care for young boys. Walter was one of those big men as he served many years as Scoutmaster for Troop 3 where he was fondly called “Big G” by his scouts. He guided many scouts, including his own three sons, as they earned their Eagle Scout rank. He was honored with a number of Scouting awards, among them Order of the Arrow, Wood Badge, and Scouting's high honor, the Silver Beaver Award, yet he felt his highest honor was his association with “his boys.” As he received phone calls from former troop members as they became adults, it appeared that they knew he would not only be their scoutmaster but also their friend for life.
Adhering to the words of the Scout oath, “On my honor I will do my duty to God and my country,” Walter honorably served his country in the United States Navy with tours of duty in both the Atlantic and Pacific.
As owner of Godbold Steel, Walter was a highly successful businessman. His gifts as an engineer and his capable ability to solve the most complex design problems were unmatched. He conducted his business dealings as an honest, straight-forward man of integrity in a very specialized and competitive business. Aware of Walter’s attributes one of his competitors respectfully said of him, “If Walter Godbold tells you it’s Christmas, you can go hang your stocking.” Likewise his CPA once wrote: “I have a lot of good memories of our working together and all those years working on your taxes. Knowing you has always confirmed my belief - good people win!”
Walter experienced great joy in his life but he was not spared suffering and deep grief. He was caregiver for his wife Eloise until she succumbed to cancer. During their marriage their children Ed, Pat, Mark, and Judy were fortunate to grow up in a Christian home full of happy times and dear memories. Walter also felt shock and numbing grief through the loss of adult sons Mark and Ed. and his great grandson, Jack Thames.
Joy again came into his life when he was given the rare gift of finding love again and marrying a family friend who he had known for decades. Walter and Sue poured a lot of living into their 14 years together and Walter referred to them as their “Golden Years,” which were marked by fun, laughter, mutual interests, close companionship, and deep love. "I am married to my best friend," Walter would often say, “and I would rather be home with Sue than anywhere in the world." Let no one say the world is a poorer place without Walter Godbold. The world is indeed a richer, better, kinder place because of his journey through it. Thank you Walter! Well done Good and Faithful Servant.
Services are being postponed due to the restrictions of COVID 19. In lieu of flowers, donations of support for Walter's camp ministry can be made to Bear Springs Camp, PO Box 13172, Jackson, MS 39236 or through Venmo to Bear Springs Camp.
Walter is survived by his large family who will miss him greatly and who humbly and gratefully accept the amazing legacy passed to them. He is survived by his wife, Sue Godbold; son, Pat (Kathy) Godbold; daughter, Judy (Ken) Pittman; daughter-in-law, Laura Godbold; step-sons, Scot (Kimberly) Thigpen; Lee (Angie) Thigpen; grandchildren: Kyle, Michael, Jennifer, Michelle, Jeff (Kristy) Godbold; Brigid (John) Thames; Peyton (Mary Alex) Thigpen; Bowen (Kailey) Thigpen; Carter, Kyle, Olivia Thigpen; Martha (David) Mire; Marie (Daniel) Auchenbach; Melissa, Preston Pittman; great grandchildren: Selah, Patrick Thames; Addie Godbold; Alice Anne, Mae Thigpen; Rebekah, Smantha Mire; Emily, Sophia Auchenbach.

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