William "Bill" Goodfellow Sr.

Friday September 15, 1922 - Thursday October 1, 2020
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William John Goodfellow, Sr., known affectionately as Bill, passed away peacefully at his home on October 1, 2020, at the age of 98. He was a member of St. Joseph Baptist Church in St. Joseph, LA, St. Joseph Tensas Masonic Lodge, #309, and the Shriners of Monroe.

He was preceded in death by his parents Archie and Ellen Thiele Goodfellow; his sisters Bertha Mahoney and Jeanette Williams; and his grandson Brandon Rush. He is survived by his wife of 77 years, Marilyn Smith Goodfellow of St Joseph LA, his son, William J. (Margaret) Goodfellow, Jr. of Calhoun LA, four daughters, Wilda (Mac) Bezet of Bouge Chitto, MS, Frances (Bill) Faitt of McKinney TX, Suzie (Rickey) Rush of Waterproof, LA and Geney (Billy) Page of Winnsboro, LA.; Thirteen grandchildren: Jeannine Bezet Massey / husband Prentice, Jerry Bezet / wife Lindsay, Brian Faitt, Deborah Faitt Esker / husband Robert, Michael Faitt / wife Melissa, Luke Rush, Case Goodfellow / wife Erin, Allie Goodfellow Allbritton / husband Brandon, Hannah Goodfellow Kubik / husband Matthew, Allison Page DeRouen / husband Dwayne, Steven Page / wife Alyssa, and Matthew Page / wife Ashley, Karen Page. Thirty great-grandchildren: Seth Massey, Raynah Massey, Ethan Bezet, William Bezet, Eleonora Faitt, Astrid Faitt, Lily Esker, Sydney Esker, Arthur Faitt, Leila Faitt, Kayd Rush, Janie Ray, Addison Goodfellow, Graham Goodfellow, Judah Goodfellow, Harper Allbritton, Haleigh Allbritton, Susie Kubik, Georgia Kubik, John Miller Kubik, Elliana DeRouen, Calista DeRouen, Sophia DeRouen, Olivia DeRouen, Jaden Page, Rylie Page, Marilyn Page, Katelyn Page, Avery Page, and Hartley Page along with a host of cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.

The family will receive friends Saturday, October 3, 2020 12:00 PM-1:30 PM at St. Joseph First Baptist Church with a graveside service at 2:00 PM to follow at Legion Memorial Cemetery in Newellton, Louisiana. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe, Louisiana.

Bill was born September 15, 1922 in Plaquemine, Louisiana, to Archie and Ellen Thiele Goodfellow. When he was a young boy, his family relocated to his beloved Tensas Parish where he and his sisters, Bertha and Jeanette were raised, and where he grew to manhood hunting in its many forests and fishing its lakes and rivers.

In 1927, during the Great Flood that devastated so much of Louisiana, his father heard a neighbor calling across the rising flood waters, pleading for help. His father answered that call, one neighbor helping another and Bill, too, would continue that loving and selfless behavior, lending a hand when needed; providing food where needed; stopping to help a stranger stranded on the road.

For 77 years, Bill and his wife, Marilyn worked as a team, building a life together, creating a home and raising their five children. Together, they set high standards, leading by example, with honor to God, to family, and to country.

During World War II, Bill joined the Navy and served as a crewman on a supply ship, the USS Caelum, carrying troops, bombs, fuel and supplies, materials for building airstrips to the South Pacific. On one voyage, there was a mishap on board and a depth charge fell overboard threatening the lives of all on his vessel and others in the convoy of which they were a part. The Captain called for volunteers to dive in and secure the bomb before it could reach a depth that would result in an explosion. Bill was one of those who dove in. Stationed in the South Pacific, he piloted a landing craft delivering weapons and supplies.

When a friend and co-worker for Louisiana Power and Light received a severe electrical shock as a downed live wire fell across a truck he was touching, the crew boss yelled for everyone to “get back”! One man (Bill) rushed forward grabbing his friend by his boots and pulling him to safety, then began resuscitation saving his life.
Those acts of courage, selflessness, kindness to others, weren’t told by “The Man”, himself, but by those who witnessed them, those who knew him.

His fondest childhood memories, those he shared, were of his grandfather, Lonnie Goodfellow, and the times they spent together on the Mississippi River. He told about his parents, his sisters, nieces, nephews; his Aunts, Uncles, and many, many
cousins, friends and neighbors. And yes, he repeated those stories time and time again. And yes, his children rolled their eyes and thought, “Not again!” But how those stories and memories are treasured today.

His favorite activities were deer hunting and fishing. He never missed an opportunity to slip off in the early morning hours to fish or to spend time in the woods of Tensas hunting deer. His trophies hang on the walls of his home and in his workshop. He passed his love of hunting on to his son and grandsons. Bill, Jr. will tell of the time they were hunting and Bill, Sr. stepped in a nest of ground wasps. Bill, Sr. “took off, running!” with Bill, Jr. trying to catch up to him, yelling “Stop, Daddy! Stop!” Only when he did, could Bill, Jr. swipe and swat the swarm of wasps off him and then both men ran to escape the still angry wasps.

In his declining years, his greatest delights were seeing his grandchildren and great-grandchildren – his twinkling blue eyes and sweet smile lighting up his face and the room, never bothered by the chaos and mayhem that can accompany a large, boisterous crowd of people. Sitting in his recliner, he would talk, tease and joke with them. With the very young, he would entertain with songs from long ago.

His heart was broken when he lost his beloved grandson and one of his best fishing buddies, Brandon Rush. Their love and respect for each other was without measure. With all great losses, time eases the pain, but never erases the memories. So this day while we see a full casket and an empty recliner, we will celebrate a full life, well lived and know that “Papaw” and Brandon are reunited and they have “Gone Fishing.”

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