September 12, 1938 - August 30, 2021
Raymond Eugene Godfrey, 82, left his earthly home on Sunday, August 29, 2021, to find his home in heaven. If he had to choose how he would go, it would’ve been on a Sunday morning at church time, and that’s just how it went. He wouldn’t have chosen for pneumonia to take his life, but he absolutely knew that when the time came for him to pass, he would simply move from his home in Independence, Oregon to a new address in heaven. Ray was born in Emmett, Idaho on September 12, 1938 to Victor Godfrey and Matilda (Christiansen) Godfrey. His young life took him to Hood River and Dallas, Oregon, and then to Santa Barbara, California. He returned to Oregon, where he finished his last three years of high school at Central High in Independence, graduating in 1956 with classmates that he continued to meet with several times a year until just this past year. Just after high school he and a friend joined the Navy. His military journey took him to Brown and Border Field for 1957-59 and then to Moffat Field for 1959-1960. His service on those California airfields, as an Aircraft Structural Mechanic, led to a lifelong love of military aircraft and history. In 1959 he became reacquainted with his high school classmate, Kathryn Almira Wallace. When it was suggested that he renew his military commitment, he said that he had “…reconnected with Kay at home, and she was much more interesting than the Navy.” They married on December 16, 1961, in Buena Vista. Together, they were the engaged, involved and dedicated parents of three children, Raelyn Riedlinger, and “the twins,” Rachel Daberkow and Vance Godfrey. Those early, married years he worked at Boise Cascade, first at the mill in Valsetz and later in Independence. In 1967 he added a part-time job, walking a route in Independence for the United States Postal Service. After working both jobs for two years, he left the mill to become a Rural Letter Carrier, which he did until he retired in September of 1993. It was his heart for service that led him to be a “post office on wheels,” carrying stamps, change, a scale and always a smile, along his route in southern Polk County for all those years. “Rain, sleet or snow” didn’t keep him from his rounds, nor floods. One time when a package needed to be delivered to a resident down at Alluvial Farms, he convinced a neighbor with a boat to help him cross the waters to get it there. When he retired early from the USPS it was because he had so many other ways in mind to serve his family and community. He drove the mail truck for Fast Transportation and later, farm truck, but it was his volunteer service that was his lifeblood. Starting in 1969 and all the way through Jan 1, 2020, Ray volunteered with the local fire department, many of those years as the Station 40 Battalion Chief. For 31 years he spent his Wednesday nights at drill. He gave his time to many causes such as Gleanings for the Hungry, a ministry of YWAM, in Dinuba, CA. Their ministry was near and dear to his heart, taking the fruit that would have otherwise been discarded, and preserving it so that it could feed people in need all around the world. That was fitting for Ray, who hated to waste anything or throw things away. Although he went down to the base multiple times each year, anyone who knew him could expect that he would ask them, “What are you doing in August? I could use your help…” He would try to convince them to come along for some volunteer service preserving peaches. Taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves was a common theme in his life. He worked tirelessly defending the life of the unborn throughout his entire adult life. Defending life and liberty also drove him to become an outspoken patriot. He walked hundreds of miles, gathering signatures for initiatives by the local Republican Party. He believed his political service was his duty as an American citizen and honored the principles that our country was founded on. When it was time to sign up for working at events or tasks, Ray would sign up last, taking whatever jobs were left. Getting the work done and the word out mattered to him, regardless of the hours it took. His service included years as a church elder at the Presbyterian Church in Independence and 50 years of giving to his local community through serving at the Buena Vista Community Church. No job was too menial or daunting. If it needed done, he was there. He may not have vacuumed at home, but even in this last year, he could be found many Saturday nights at the church, vacuuming and getting things ready for Sunday morning. Taking care of people was just one of the ways that he served his Heavenly Father. There was a handwritten quote in his address book, that says, “Church is a verb, not a noun. It can be as big or small as friends gathering around a meal, talking about things that matter most, building each other up. That’s a lot bigger than 11 am on Sunday.” While being a servant to many took up much of his time, he spent time in pursuit of other passions, as well. He loved studying Biblical history, especially the Exodus. To anyone who would listen, he reveled in sharing the facts that he had learned through his study. He also enjoyed and was very versed in American history. Especially interesting to him was the history of American wartime battles. He may not remember what he had for breakfast, but he could remember facts of military history that were astounding. That passion for history of the military, combined with his love of airplanes led him to volunteer a couple of days a week at the Evergreen Air Museum. He was a walking encyclopedia of American aircraft history. He would tell museum guests historical details about the individual planes on display that made a visit feel personal and interesting to those who shared his passion and those who didn’t, alike. He was proud of his family and loved them deeply. Ray leaves behind his beloved wife of nearly 60 years, Kay. He will be missed by his children and their spouses: Patrick & Raelyn Riedlinger, Kip & Rachel Daberkow, Vance & Monique Godfrey, his ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. His consistent answer to the question, “How are you?” was always, “Better than I look!” His corny jokes, customary chuckle and ever-present smile was how he lived life – looking at the positives and without complaint. Ray Godfrey’s life was one of sacrifice, giving and service, but he always felt like the blessed one. Living a life in service to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was his privilege. Please join the family for Ray’s Celebration of Life, at 1 pm on Wednesday, September 8, at the Buena Vista Fire Station, located across from the church. Those wishing to make memorial donations can do so to the Willamette Valley First Responder Chaplaincy or Oregon Right to Life. Farnstrom Mortuary is caring for the family.
Raymond Eugene Godfrey, 82, left his earthly home on Sunday, August 29, 2021, to find his home in heaven. If he had to choose how he would go, it would’ve been on a Sunday morning at church time, and that’s just how it went. He wouldn’t... View Obituary & Service Information
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