Barron Whitehead Godbee, Jr., a life-long resident of Vidalia, Georgia, passed away on January 9, 2019. He was born on October 6, 1926 in Vidalia, Georgia to Mr. and Mrs. Barron Whitehead Godbee, Sr. He is the grandson of Warren T. Jenkins, the founder of the city of Vidalia.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Caroll Odom Godbee; their three children, Janie Godbee McGregor (Danny) of Clarksville, Tennessee, Erica Godbee Harden (John Wesley) of Sandersville, Georgia, and Fred Odom Godbee (Mandy) of Vidalia, Georgia; their four grandchildren, Mary Katherine Harden, Barron Scott Godbee, Thomas Fulton Godbee, and Jack Preston Godbee; his sister, Louise Godbee Tucker; his sister-in-law, Ann Odom Todd; his brother-in-law, Jack Hartley Todd; his nieces; his nephew; his cousins, and his sons from a previous marriage, Lucky Wade Jackson and Ronald Allen Jackson.
Barron graduated from Vidalia High School in 1943 then attended Emory at Oxford College before joining the United States Navy in 1944. He served in World War II in the Pacific Theater on the U.S.S. Goodrich DDS Super Destroyer. After leaving the Navy, he attended Capital Radio Engineering Institute in Washington D.C. and graduated in 1950. He then returned to Vidalia, Georgia and began a 62-year career at Pal Amusement Company retiring as president of the company in 2001. During his career at Pal Amusement Company, he built and designed several theaters including the Brice Cinema in 1969 and the redesign of the New Pal Theater in 1973. Barron was vice president of National Alliance of Theater Owners of Georgia and was given the distinguished Statesman of the Year award in 1996 by the organization.
Barron served his community as a president and a member of the Lions Club (67 years) and a Lion of the Year (1968-69 and 2009-2010), a past member of the Elks Club, a past member of the Vidalia Moose Club, and a past member of the American Legion. He was past president of the Vidalia Chamber of Commerce (1971) and a member of the Vidalia Community Chorus. He filmed Vidalia High School football games for over 30 years and was the Master of Ceremonies for the Girl Scouts “Little Mr. and Miss Vidalia” pageants for 31 years. He was honored in 1971 as the Vidalia Citizen of the Year. On May 6, 2017, he was humbled and overjoyed to take flight as a WWII Navy Veteran on the 2017 Coastal Georgia Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
He was confirmed as a member of the Vidalia First United Methodist Church in 1935 where he served faithfully in many capacities including chairman and member of the Board of Administration (50 years), chairman and member of the Board of Trustee (30 years), and a member of the finance committee (35 years). He was a member of the Men’s Bible Class since 1950. He was the director of the Chancel Choir for 32 years and a member of the choir for 80 years. In 2002, the church dedicated the Barron W. Godbee, Jr. Activity Center in his honor. He was thrilled to witness the installation of the new pipe organ in the sanctuary in 2018.
Barron was an avid boater, motorcyclist, pilot, ham radio operator, story-teller, and a devoted jazz enthusiast. He was Uncle Barron to many people who he loved and who loved him.
The funeral service will be held Saturday, January 12th at 11:00 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church of Vidalia with Reverend Jim Smith, Reverend David Blalock and Jose Caraballo officiating. Burial will follow in the Pinecrest Cemetery.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 5:00 until 8:00.
Those desiring may make memorial donations to the First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 150, Vidalia GA 30475.
Ronald V. Hall Funeral Home in Vidalia is in charge of these arrangements. www.ronaldvhall.com