George H. Godwin, Jr.

By  | April 17, 2022 | Filed under: Hartsell Heritage Funeral Home, Obituaries

George Hansel Godwin Jr.George H. Godwin, Jr., 85, passed into the church triumphant on Friday, April 15, 2022.  He was born to George and Florence Godwin on January 29, 1937 in Decatur, Alabama. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Sara Alice Godwin, his children George Godwin, III (Carol), John Godwin (Amy), Susan Thompson (Chuck), and Norman Godwin (Mary Ann), his eleven grandchildren (Bo Godwin, Caroline Godwin, Lee Godwin, Ginny Tyler Meadows, Shelton Carnley, Max Godwin, Brandon Thompson, Harrison Godwin, Sara Caitlin Kelleher, Clay Godwin, and Ellis Godwin), and his seven great grandchildren (James and Alex Godwin, Lola Hazel and Sims Meadows, June and Win Carnley, and Harrison Godwin).  He is preceded in death by his brother Byron R. “Pat” Godwin.

Upon graduating from Decatur High School, Godwin attended Auburn University where he joined Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, led the Auburn University Marching Band as Drum Major, met and married his first and only love Sara Alice Stephens, and earned his bachelor and master degrees in Chemical Engineering.  After graduating and serving in Oklahoma and Maryland as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he returned to Decatur where he worked for Decatur Utilities for 37 years, leading the organization as General Manager for 19 years.  He was known well for his sound leadership, his customer focus, and his rare combination of honesty, integrity, fairness, sound business judgement, frankness, and determination.  His effectiveness at leading people was recognized when he received the George D. Heaton Award given by the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership.  During his career he was also heavily involved in the water works industry, serving as regional President and a national board member of the American Water Works Association and receiving the George Warren Fuller Award for distinguished service in the water service field.  After retiring from the Utilities, he served for eight years as Executive Director of Associated Valley Industries, a non-profit organization representing Tennessee Valley industries in energy and utility issues.  Throughout his career, he enjoyed working through the world’s problems with members of the Decatur Culture Club.

Throughout his life Godwin was an active participant in service to the city of Decatur, a community he loved.  In addition to his fruitful service at the Utilities, he was a long-time member of the Decatur Kiwanis Club, where he served as President and was a constant presence at the annual pancake day.  He supported the city and its growth through the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, where he served as President, and through his involvement in the North Alabama Industrial Development Association.  He gave liberally of his time and energy, especially to the Morgan County United Way, where he served on the Executive Committee, led the chapter as President, and advocated for its programs as its Annual Campaign Chairman.  His effectiveness in these and many other civic roles was recognized in 1998 when he was named Rotary Club Citizen of the Year and in 2013 when he was named a Kiwanis Club Hixson Fellow.

Godwin was a lifetime and faithful member of Central United Methodist Church, where he ensured his family would be each and every Sunday.  He took on many leadership roles in the church, including service on the Administrative Board and chairing the stewardship campaign.  But his love was music, and for 20 years he directed the chancel choir, where he experienced the joy of leading God’s people in the worship of their King.


George Godwin was a man of great integrity, an Eagle Scout in his youth who as an adult continued to exhibit the many principles of Scout Law such as kindness, helpfulness, cheerfulness, loyalty and trustworthiness.  He was a man whose first impulse was concern for others, and he could and would genuinely engage with anyone, from those on the service line, to those in the office, to those in leadership.  To his community, he was a public servant of great character.  To his family, he was our lovable Big G.  To his Lord, he was and is a son.


A public visitation is scheduled 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM in the fellowship hall at Central United Methodist Church.  A service and celebration of life will follow at 1:00 PM in the sanctuary.  Grandsons will serve as pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Central United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice. Hartselle Heritage Funeral Home is assisting the family.

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