James ‘Keith’ Goddard
Keith Goddard was born on June 25, 1933, on “Goddard Mountain” in Greenbrier
County, West Virginia, to Gordon Samuel Goddard and Velma Clare Skidmore
Keith was home-schooled for two years before attending school in Rainelle,
W.Va. He graduated from Rainelle High School in 1949. After dating Arthena
Ellen Dotson for three years, they married on June 28, 1951, three days
after his 18th birthday. To this union were born three children, 13
grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Keith worked at various jobs over
the years, beginning as a welders-apprentice in the naval shipyards in
Portsmouth, Va., in 1951. Returning to West Virginia, he helped out at the
family dairy farm, worked as a coal miner, and ran his own service station.
As a result of his father passing away in February 1958 and the coal mines
cutting back on production, Keith drove his 1951 Ford car to Beverly, Wash.,
to go to work, arriving on Labor Day 1958.
Keith worked for Standard Oil, delivering fuel oil in Mattawa, Beverly and
the Priest Rapids Dam area. He was hired by the Northern Pacific Railroad in
October of 1958, and retired as an engineer from Burlington Northern
Railroad in 1990.
He led an adventurous life, for he could hardly say “no” to anyone. He was
willing to help anyone do anything. He learned a little about everything and
could fix just about anything that was broken. He loved hunting, fishing,
gardening and being with his friends. He especially enjoyed his “grandkids”
In 1986 he began his first battle with cancer that would continue the rest
of his life.
One of his grandsons said, “Papaw wrote the book on ‘TOUGH.’” And another
grandson said, “He wrote TWO books on ‘TOUGH.’”
Keith passed away in early morning, surrounded by his family, on June 7,
2008, losing the battle with complications from emphysema, pneumonia, and
blood clots resulting from a fractured hip.
Keith was preceded in death by both parents and his oldest brother, Carroll.
He is survived by his loving wife of almost 57 years, Arthena; sons, Mike
(Polly) and Merl (Linda); a daughter, Joyce (Dave) Borup; 13 grandchildren;
and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Nelda (Lenzy)
Zickafoose of Meadow Bridge, W.Va., and Nyla (Gene) Godby of Muskogee,
Okla.; and younger brother, Kyle Dean of Pikeville, Ky.
At Keith’s request, he will be cremated. A Memorial Service to celebrate his
life will be held on Wednesday, June 11, 2008, at 11 a.m., at Riverview
Baptist Church, 4900 W. Richardson, Pasco, Wash., with the reception to
follow. The service also can be viewed online at www.rvbc.us.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bus Ministry at Riverview
Baptist Church, 4900 W. Richardson, Pasco, WA 99301.
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