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David Robinson Godschalk


1931 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
David Robinson Godschalk Obituary
David Robinson Godschalk

May 14, 1931 – January 27, 2018

Chapel Hill

David Robinson Godschalk, 86, of Chapel Hill, NC, died Saturday, January 27, 2018.

He grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, the elder of two sons of the late Harold and Helen Godschalk. He attended Dartmouth College on a ROTC scholarship and studied architecture and city planning at the University of Florida. He practiced as a city planner in Florida for several years and then attended the University of North Carolina, where he received a master's degree and then a PhD. in city and regional planning.

Dave devoted the next 45 years of his life to teaching city planning at UNC and to promoting the profession and advancing the development of the university. He served as chairman of the department and held the Stephen Baxter Professorship; in addition, he chaired the University's Buildings and Grounds Committee for two decades. He received numerous professional and educational awards for his contributions, including the President's Award from the American Planning Association, the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Distinguished Teaching Award from UNC, and the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award from UNC. An urban planner intrigued with design, he shaped his life and work in response to outside events and emerging needs, including most recently building community resilience to natural and manmade disasters. Mentoring students in his field was one of the great pleasures of his teaching career.

Service to campus, community, state, and nation was an abiding theme in David's life, and he displayed a remarkable capacity to inspire, collaborate, and build consensus. He served on active duty in the U.S. Navy during the 1950s on the USS Des Moines in the Mediterranean and was recalled to active duty during the Berlin Crisis on the USS Greenwood off Cuba. He remained active in the U.S. Navy Reserve for many years, assuming the command of a reserve destroyer, the USS English, and retiring at the rank of Commander. He was a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council for two terms and contributed his energy to a number of public commissions on the local and state level. He was active on the boards of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, the N.C. Botanical Garden Foundation, Carol Woods Retirement Community, the Soul City Foundation, and the Triangle Land Conservancy.

Dave was the author or co-author of 15 books and dozens of articles on planning and urban design. He recently completed his memoirs, Finding the Sweet Spot, a collection of photos and reminiscences much prized by his family. In retirement, he decided what he really wanted was to be a painter, and he spent many happy hours in the studio daily until his illness intervened

Dave is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lallie Moore Godschalk, whose constant support provided a solid foundation for his many endeavors; by his son, David K. Godschalk, his wife Catherine, and their children Peter and Claire, of Bethesda, MD; and by his brother and his wife, Dick and Pat Godschalk, of Macon, GA, and their son Mark and his family.

A gathering in celebration of Dave's life will be held at Carol Woods in Chapel Hill on Saturday, February 17, 2018, at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest memorial donations to the Godschalk Fellowship in Land Use and Environmental Planning at UNC, or to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.
Published in The News & Observer on Feb. 1, 2018
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