February 07, 1925 - November 06, 2023
Donald Godfrey, 98 of Red Oak, IA, passed away Monday, November 6, 2023 in Red Oak. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 10, 2023 at the Loess Hills Funeral Home in Malvern. Private burial will be held in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, rural Hastings, IA. Visitation at the funeral home in Malvern will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2023. Loess Hills Funeral Home in Malvern is caring for Don and his family.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials are to the donor's choice
Don's Life Story
The dishtowel on the clothesline could mean only one thing: Donald Walter Godfrey was about to enter the world! Walter dashed from his farm chores to the house, where wife Elsie (Baugh) was ready to give birth, having put out the signal flag! It was February 7, 1925, and soon rural Silver City would have the news of the Godfreys' third child.
Don grew up helping on the farm, and it was always his life's passion. He learned much about crops and livestock from his father, who had emigrated from England in 1909, and by the time he was in high school he already had the start of a career.
He was not excited about academics, but was good with numbers and careful with finances. He went to country school at Valley #5 through 8th grade and then to high school in Treynor, where he graduated in 1942. The following summer he took some time off for an adventure in Colorado, where he picked peaches and washed dishes for meals to make his way. When he returned home, he resumed farming where he had left off!
A pretty new young schoolteacher at Valley #5 rural school began to catch his interest, and on June 2, 1946, he and Ruby Darlene Smith were married, the first wedding in the newly rebuilt Henderson Christian Church. They began married life on her parents' farm with rented ground. Ruby pitched in any way she could. Two years later, Richard was born, and by the following year they had moved to the Fickel place southwest of Henderson. Don took on custom work in addition to his own livestock, which included a few milk cows, sows and beef cattle, which eventually led to a purebred Hereford breeding herd, and crops. His family was Don's pride and joy, and Darrell joined the group in 1954.
Don was on many boards and committees in the community, and the family was active in 4-H. In 1963 they purchased land where they lived, and in 1970 they built a new house on it.
They were not without fun in their lives; their many friends included a group of five couples who dubbed themselves the "Happy 10." Most were friends from high school, and their friendship continued all their lives; every couple celebrated at least 60 years of marriage. They later enjoyed square dancing all over the area, and in retirement years they spent several weeks each winter in Arizona, making more friendships and renewing others with Iowans who had also gone south in the cold months. Don also was able to take his family to England to see the house where his father had lived last before he emigrated to Iowa.
In 1993, Don & Ruby moved to Emerson, as Don tried to "retire" from the farm, but he remained active, going out to help every chance he got. In Emerson they had great neighbors and made more friends. They were selected as Grand Marshalls of Emerson Days in 2009.
He and Ruby were married for 77 years, a wonderful example of what marriage can be. They were faithful members of Wesley Chapel church while they lived in the neighborhood; after their move they also attended Henderson United Methodist Church and Emerson United Methodist Church.
Preceding him in death were his parents, wife Ruby in September 2023, brother Robert Godfrey in 1927, sister Nellie (Godfrey) Burgoin in 2006, and many close friends and family.
Left behind with holes in their hearts, but consoled by the promises of Eternal Life, are son Richard and wife Rita, son Darrell and wife Nelda, grandchildren Mark Godfrey and wife Brooke, and Elisabeth (Godfrey) and husband Joe Eisenbacher, great-grandchildren David, Lydia and Daniel Eisenbacher, and Charlotte Godfrey, and other dear friends and relatives.