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1926 Wilton 2019

Wilton Jackson (Bill) Goodwin

August 30, 1926 — October 31, 2019

Wilton Jackson (Bill) Goodwin, 93, died Thursday, October 31, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
He leaves his wife of 61 years, Helen Thorington Goodwin; his son, Robert Thorington Goodwin and his wife Stacy Sorrels Goodwin; his daughter, Mary Margaret Goodwin and her spouse Ann “Joey” Herrera; four grandchildren, Nisu and Lia Herrera, Jackson and Grace Goodwin; and many dear nephews, nieces, and friends.
Bill was born and reared in Nederland, Texas, the son of Margaret Cooke Goodwin and Robert A. Goodwin with his siblings Kathryn, John, and Frances.
In his teenage years and after school, “Billy” would help out in his Uncle Berthold’s mercantile store, delivering groceries. He distributed rationed sweets for the “regular” customers during the war. After graduating from Nederland High School, he worked in the Beaumont Shipyards and played French horn in the Shipyard band until he was old enough to join the U.S. Navy. He served in World War II from 1944 to 1946 as a Seamen, First Class on the USS Grafton in the Pacific. Bill said that his calling to the Ministry came to him while at sea. He graduated from McMurry College in Abilene, Texas, with a B.S. in Speech and Drama, and received his Master of Divinity at Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. He later earned a B.A. in Music from University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.
He met his wife, Helen, in Baytown, Texas where she taught music. Their love of music brought them together when they sang the lead roles in Menotti’s “Telephone” and “The Old Maid and the Thief” in a local opera theater. They were married on December 23,1958 at Taft Presbyterian Church in Taft, Texas, Helen’s home town.
Bill began his Methodist ministry in Minneola and Jasper, Texas, and his first church assignment was in Warren. He served pastorates at churches in Dallas, Lake Dallas, Wichita Falls, Grapevine, Weatherford, and Waco, Texas. Wherever Bill served, he shared freely his love and pastoral care, inspired preaching, music ministry, friendship, and good humor.
One of Bill’s greatest joys was his involvement in the summer mountain community of Idlewild, New Mexico, where Bill and Helen’s cabin porch became a gathering place for friends, family, and passing hikers. Bill’s preaching and organ playing became regular features of summer worship at the outdoor Idlewild Community Church.
Bill and Helen lived in Weatherford, Texas, after Bill’s retirement where they were reunited with many close friends. In the next chapter of his ministry, Bill worked for The Tarrant County Committee on Aging as a Senior Center director. He also logged over 6,000 volunteer hours at Weatherford Regional Hospital.
In 2015, Bill and Helen moved to Decatur, Georgia where they became members of Decatur Presbyterian Church. A memorial service will be held in Decatur, GA on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 2pm at Decatur Presbyterian Church, 205 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030. Memorial events will also take place on future dates in Dallas, TX and Idlewild, NM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Memory of Bill Goodwin to a charity of your choice, or to Decatur Presbyterian Church Threshold Ministry, 205 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030 or on-line at

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