Bruce Kesseli Goodwin

WILLIAMSBURG - Bruce Kesseli Goodwin, 76, professor emeritus of Geology at the College of William and Mary, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family, on Friday, Sept. 5, 2008.
Dr. Goodwin was born on Oct. 14, 1931, in Providence, R.I., the son of Thomas William and Lizetta Kesseli Goodwin. He grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, spending many happy hours sailing and fishing on Narragansett Bay. He graduated from Aldrich High School in 1949 and received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1953. After serving in the United States Army for two years, he attended Lehigh University where he earned a Ph.D. in geology in 1959. Dr. Goodwin joined the faculty of University of Pennsylvania, teaching geology there for four years. In 1963, he relocated to Williamsburg, Va., where he became a founding father of the geology department at the College of William and Mary. During his 33 year tenure at William and Mary, Dr. Goodwin chaired the geology department for 17 years and conducted extensive research in the Piedmont region specializing in structural geology and petrology of metamorphic and igneous terrains. He was honored as a fellow of the Geological Society of America and served in various offices of scientific societies. He was instrumental in establishing the long term relationship between William and Mary and the Richmond Math and Science Center.
In 1982-83, he initiated the establishment of the Virginia Board for Geology, was the first certified geologist in the state, and was the first chair for the State Board for Geology. He actively supported the Virginia Academy of Sciences, was President of the Geology Section several times, and guided many students toward their first scientific presentations. He was awarded 11 grants from the National Science Foundation to support students in undergraduate research.
His first love was teaching and he established a distinguished reputation for his interesting, informative, and challenging courses. The College recognized his excellence in teaching by awarding him the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award in 1971.
In addition, Dr. Goodwin was very active in the community. He served as the president of the Lafayette High School PTA, was a founder of the Lafayette Education Fund, and was a member of the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg and St. Andrew's Society.
After retirement in 1996, Dr. Goodwin became an accomplished oil painter and ballroom dancer. He enjoyed sailing and fishing throughout his life and traveled extensively in his later years. He will be remembered as a very patient man who had kind words of encouragement for everyone.
Dr. Goodwin is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Joan; his son, Dr. Stephen Bruce Goodwin of Lafayette, Ind.; his daughter, Susan Nolen and son-in-law, Ernie Nolen of Hamilton, N.Y.; his daughter, Jennifer Smith, and son-in-law, Brian Smith of Annapolis, Ma.; and five grandchildren, Corey, Keslie, and Eliza Nolen and Thomas and Liam Smith.
A graveside service will be held 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, in the Cedar Grove Cemetery followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. in the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday evening at the Bucktrout of Williamsburg Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers the family requests gifts be made to The College of William and Mary Foundation, Geology Department Founders Fund (1870) at P.O. Box 1693 Williamsburg, VA 32187, the WJCC Community Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 935, Williamsburg, VA 23187, or the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Patriot's Colony Convalescent Center and Heartland Hospice for their care and compassion.
Bucktrout of Williamsburg is in charge of the arrangements. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in Daily Press on Sept. 7, 2008