Graham J. Godwin, Jr.: 1931 - 2002

Graham Jones Godwin, Jr.
"Papa Bear"
July 4, 1931 - April 3, 2002

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Dad as a young boy My father, Graham Jones ("Red") Godwin, Jr., was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 4th, 1931 to Graham Jones Godwin and Myrtle Kirk Godwin. His father passed away from pneumonia on Christmas Day, 1936, when my father was 5 1/2 years old.

His mother subsequently found work in an attempt to make ends meet but, with the country in the midst of the Great Depression during this period, she was not able to support her son and herself as well as she felt necessary. This resulted in my father being sent to live at the Junior Order United American Mechanics' Home - an orphanage - for a time. The Masons - a service organization of which his father had been a member of - sponsored his stay there, which resulted in the assurance that my father would receive the best education possible at minimal cost to his mother, who visited him as often as she could. He remained at the home - first, in Tiffin, Ohio and subsequently in Lexington, North Carolina - until the early 1940's (1940-1941), at which time he returned to live with his mother.

Dad in 1961 Once his schooling was completed, he made his way to the Washington, D.C. area where he was an electrician with the federal government. He crossed paths with my mother and they married on September 3, 1961, settling in Arlington, VA.

In March, 1965 my parents adopted me and brought me home. They adopted my sister Michelle in 1968, shortly after buying their first home in Annandale, Virginia, which is where my mother resides today. They provided my sister and I with everything that we needed, and many things that we didn't. I have heard in the past people saying that they want to provide their children with a better childhood than the one they had, but I honestly cannot see how I could do that, for I had an absolutely wonderful childhood thanks to my parents.

In late 1991, my father was diagnosed with renal cancer; his left kidney was removed and he made a full recovery. He remained on medical leave until the end of 1993, when he retired from the federal government after 41 years of service.

My Dad and I - March 6, 2002 In 1994, he began volunteering at Fairfax Hospital, logging over 5,700 hours of service between then and February, 2002.

In mid-2001, we found that the cancer had returned, this time on his forehead and near his heart. A tumor was removed from his forehead area in June, 2001 and he underwent chemotherapy to treat a mass near his heart. On March 2, 2002, after exhibiting unexplainable symptoms, an MRI discovered two large tumors on his brain. It was these tumors that eventually took his life.

My Dad with Zoe - August 17, 2001 He was able to make frequent trips to visit his grandchildren Zoe and Jonas since they were born in 1998 and 2000, respectively. We also visited "Pa-Pa and Grandma" as many times as we could, the most recent being the first two weeks of March, after the tumors on his brain were found.

This section of the website will become a "living" document on my Dad's life and his effect on my life as well as others. He continues to live in my heart, as well as the hearts of those who loved him, and will for all time. I take comfort in the fact that he is somewhere watching down on me, with clear vision and no pain, watching his grandchildren grow up and giving me guidance whenever I need it.

I love you Dad, and I miss you.

Cancer Sucks "I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living
My Daddy you'll be."
Cancer Sucks