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 Goddard.

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” and “great-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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