For Love of Wild Bill
James Bond Godshalk had five children and William R. Godshalk was the wildest. When Bill Godshalk was 10 and playing shortstop in Little League, he caught a ball only to drop it when the base runner hit his glove. Bill attacked the other player. James Godshalk walked on to the field and pulled his son back. "He needed me," Mr. Godshalk said. "And I needed him, I did so much."
James Godshalk taught his son sports, and in the process taught him how to calm himself. But Bill Godshalk kept his wild and adventurous heart, even as a 35-year-old vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in the World Trade Center, said his fiancée, Aleese Hartmann. At a memorial service for his son, James Godshalk was reminded of a verse by James Whitcomb Riley:
Old man never had much to say -
'Ceptin to Jim, -
And Jim was the wildest boy he had,
And the old man jes' wrapped up in him!
When he recited the poem, he substituted "Bill" for the name Jim, and told the story of a wild boy and the father who loved him.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 11, 2001.