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 (fbclibertycity.com/) or Western Indian Ministries (www.westernindioan.org).
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