Claude Godwin, Jr., who served the local and national church, dies in Kentucky

A Presbyterian pastor, Godwin was once chaplain of the North Carolina Senate

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Claude Godwin, Jr.

LOUISVILLE — William “Claude” Godwin, Jr., a pastor turned stewardship and communication development ministry unit director in the national office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), passed away peacefully at the age of 79 on Tuesday.

A celebration of life service will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday at Springdale Presbyterian Church, 7812 Brownsboro Road in Louisville, Kentucky. Visitation will be at the church from 1 p.m. through 3 p.m. prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to Habitat for Humanity, Springdale Presbyterian Church in Louisville or First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. Those wishing to sign his guestbook may do so at

Godwin was born January 18, 1941 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Claude and Louise (Johnson) Godwin. He graduated from Davidson College in 1963 and from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, in 1966. On August 3, 1963, he married Patsy Garner Godwin in Fayetteville.

He was a retired Presbyterian minister, having held pastorates at Stanley White Presbyterian Church in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, from 1966-1971 and at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 1971-1981. While serving at Trinity, he was named as the chaplain of the 1979 North Carolina Senate.

In 1981, he transitioned from serving in ministry to local churches to serving in ministry through state and national church governing bodies. He began that part of his work as regional communicator for the Synod of North Carolina. Then, in 1988, he was called to serve as the associate director of the General Assembly’s Stewardship and Communication Development Ministry Unit and director of the Mission Funding Division within that unit for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville.

While Godwin had a long and meaningful career in Presbyterian ministry, his other lifelong love and commitment was to his wife of 56 years and their children and grandchildren. He loved to spend time with them, whether at home or on the many wonderful vacations they took together. He also enjoyed golfing, reading, listening to all types of music, telling stories and jokes, and attending events that featured his grandchildren, who brought him a special kind of love and joy.

He is survived by his wife, Patsy Garner Godwin of Lexington, Kentucky; his daughter Tracy Godwin Mullins, son-in-law Todd, and grandchildren Jacqueline and Megan of Lexington; and his son Brian Godwin, daughter-in-law Diana, and grandchildren Blake, Alyssa, and Lauren of Louisville. He also is survived by his brother Steve Godwin and sister-in-law Gayle of Wallace, North Carolina; his sister-in-law Pam Norman of Holly Springs, North Carolina; and several nieces and nephews.

He lived a meaningful life of love and ministry, and he will be missed deeply.

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