Melvyn Goodwin

Melvyn Ray Goodwin, 74, of Kilgore, Texas died quietly at home Tuesday, January 13, 2015. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church, Liberty City, Texas at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 17.

Mel was born January 8, 1941 in Tyler to Burl and Yvonne Goodwin. He graduated from Texas A& M University with an industrial education degree. He also attended East Texas Baptist College and pursued studies as a music minister. He served in the United States Air Force.

During a vibrant, active life, he lived all over the United States and visited many countries around the world on mission trips and post-disaster relief efforts. As just a few examples, he helped serve earthquake survivors in Turkey, fed Hurricane Katrina survivors in Louisiana and Texas, and served as a Salvation Army chaplain to first responders at the World Trade Center after 9/11. Involved in fire service for more than 40 years, Mel taught fire science at colleges in Texas, Wisconsin and Arkansas. He developed the Navajo Nation Fire Department at the Tribe’s request, developing a multi-station fire service and highly trained Navajo leadership to lead the Department after he left. He also held positions at Monsanto, IBM, Amstrad Computers.

He was ordained into the Christian ministry by Cold Springs Baptist Church in Garrison, Texas, and served many churches as minister of music. During his “retirement” he devoted countless hours to disaster relief efforts with the Salvation Army and Texas Baptist Men. He also returned to firefighting as assistant chief of the local volunteer department.

He was preceded in death by his parents. He leaves behind his loving wife of 54 years, Virginia Goodwin, of the home; daughter Cheryl Kester of Fayetteville, Ark.; daughter Cathy Berg and son-in-law Joe Berg, of Kilgore, Tex.; granddaughter Alyssa Waite and her husband, Logan of Longview, Tex.; grandson Micah Berg, of Kilgore, Tex.; and adopted grandson Charles Bagbey of Shreveport, La. He is also survived by two sisters and their families, Dianne and Travis Phillips of Bandera, Tex. and Sandra Goodwin of Kilgore Tex.

Visitation will be held at Rader Funeral Home in Kilgore, Tex. on Friday, January 16, 6:00-8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to the mission fund of First Baptist Church of Liberty City ( or Western Indian Ministries (

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  1. Cheryl we are so sorry to hear about your Dad. He sounds like a very wonderful man and know he will be missed by everyone! We will keep you and all your family in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. Cheryl so sorry to hear of your loss. We are thinking & praying for you & your family in this time.

  3. Cheryl and family, George and I are thinking of you and praying with you in this time of grief. Mel’s obituary is a wonderful testimony to a life well lived. So happy you shared some of his work and ministry! Much love, mary & george

  4. Virginia, we appreciate your phone call advising us of Mel’s passing. We will remember him for his dedication to his family and to those in need. We pray for his memories to continue blessing you and your family.

    I have a severe hearing loss & should not answer the telephone without my hearing aids. So sorry I did not have a chance to express my sympathy to you. We too will remember our pleasant times spent with both of you. Grace and Peace, Judy

  5. Kathy and Cheryl I am sorry to hear about your loss I was very fond of both your mom and dad and know he is in a better place with our wonderful lord. Love you all.

  6. I had the honor to serve with Mel on Sabine Volunteer Department I am very sorry for your loss Mel was a great guy.

    God Bless

  7. Virgina & Family,
    We are so sorry to hear about Mel’s passing. He was a great friend for over 40 years and each meeting was always a pleasure.
    Randy & Melanie Staley

  8. My sympathies to you and your family on the passing of Mel. What a memorable and special person. I am sure you do not remember me. I knew you when you lived in Lodi, Wi, and Mel was associated with teaching at Madison Area Technical College. We were active firefighters and had the Ford Dealership. I have been looking on line for Mel for the last two years, and finally found his obituary. I wanted to reconnect with him after all of these years. He did so much for the Lodi Area Fire Dept and for us personally. God in his wisdom, takes those He desires to be at his side.
    Mike & Rosalind Bushnell 5-1-2015


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