Paul Alphonso Godley
1957 - 2019
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Paul Alphonso Godley, MD

April 20, 1957 - March 31, 2019

Chapel Hill

Dr. Paul Alphonso Godley, a dedicated physician and devoted husband and father who was a renowned medical oncologist and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UNC, died on Sunday March 31; he was 61 years old.

Paul was born and grew up in Detroit, MI, where he attended Friends School.

After graduating magna cum laude from Yale University, Paul earned his MD from Harvard Medical School and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Case Western Reserve University Hospitals. He subsequently joined UNC-Chapel Hill where he completed fellowship training in hematology/oncology as well as a research fellowship in cancer epidemiology, earning his PhD from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health in 1993.

In his more than 30 years at Carolina, Paul made significant contributions as a clinician, researcher, mentor and administrator. He dedicated his career to research and the treatment of prostate cancer, exemplifying empathy and expertise in his patient care. Paul was an accomplished physician leader at UNC where he was the Rush S. Dickson Distinguished Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the School of Medicine, Professor of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Senior Fellow at the UNC Sheps Center for Health Services Research. He developed and led the Program on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Outcomes (ECHO), aimed at understanding and eliminating racial health disparities through multidisciplinary research, education and training, and community partnerships. His efforts created inter-institutional and community organization relationships that have yielded longstanding, productive research collaborations. Paul became the UNC School of Medicine's Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in 2011 and its Vice Dean for Finance and Administration in 2015. In 2017 he became the School of Medicine's inaugural Vice Dean of Diversity and Inclusion.

Nationally, Paul was recognized as a leader in his field, serving as Chair of the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for the SELECT Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, NCI/Southwest Oncology Group and on the North Carolina Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination and Control. Paul was a recipient of the American Cancer Society Clinical Oncology Career Development Award. He was a member of the American College of Physicians, American Society of Preventive Oncology, Society for the Epidemiologic Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Medical Association, and Associate Editor for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

He was a devoted husband and loving father; an avid traveler, who visited six continents with his family; a passionate photographer, capturing his family and travels through his lens; and lover of good music, which in his view meant jazz.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Dr. Adaora Adimora, and children, Alegro N. Adimora Godley and Bria Adimora Godley; his father Alegro J. Godley of Sun City West, AZ; his brother, Bernard Godley, MD, Ph.D. and his wife, Fara Behnia, MD of Galveston, TX; his sisters, Joanne Godley, MD, of Bangor, ME, and Beth Godley of Brooklyn, NY. He was preceded in death by his mother Juanita Fitzpatrick Godley.

A brief service will be officiated by Pastor Andy Thompson on Saturday, April 6 at 1 PM at World Overcomers Christian Church (main sanctuary), 2933 S. Miami Blvd, Durham, NC 27703.

Instead of flowers, please consider contributions to: The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, The American Cancer Society:

For those who would like to send flowers and or cards, they can be sent to Walker's Funeral Home, 120 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516, 919-942-3861,

In lieu of a repast, a full celebration of his life and accomplishments is planned in the Fall 2019.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The News and Observer & Herald Sun from Apr. 4 to Apr. 5, 2019.
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7 entries
May 1, 2019
I am so very saddened to learn of Paul's passing. Sending great sympathy to you, Ada, Alegro and
Bria and all of your extended family. He was such an accomplished man. Jane Provan (Alegro and
Bria's teacher from Duke School many years ago.)
Jane Provan
April 9, 2019
I was a classmate and live all of 45 miles up the road in Greensboro but have had, to my chagrin, no contact with Paul since we graduated, notwithstanding geographical proximity. It sounds as if he made great use of Gods gifts- in terms of family, healthcare and social justice, and may the God of all comfort be with you and your family.
steven klein
April 7, 2019
Ada: Our hearts ache for you and your children. Paul will live on through your children and all the people he touched throughout his life. May God wrap you in his love and comfort you always.
Kris and Cam
April 5, 2019
To the family: Please allow your fondest memories shared to be as a soothing blanket over your heart. Please consider Hosea 13:14 and John 6:40. May those words of promise bring you consolation and a bountiful measure of peace. Please accept my sincere regards and heartfelt condolences.
April 5, 2019
I'm sorry for your loss. May the true God of comfort, comfort those mourning and bind up the brokenhearted.
Isaiah 61:1,2
April 4, 2019

God saw you getting tired,
When a cure was not to be.
So He wrapped his arms around you,
and whisper, "Come to me".
You didn't deserve what you went through,
So He gave you rest.
GOD'S garden must be beautiful,
He only takes the best
And when I saw you sleeping,
So peaceful and free from pain
I could not wish you back
To suffer that again.

April 4, 2019
My condolences go out to the family and friends during this difficult time. May you find a measure of comfort found at John 6:40 which says that soon we will all see our loved ones again
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