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Richard P. Godwin

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GODWIN, Richard P. - 1922-2005 Richard Philip "Dick" Godwin passed away in San Rafael, California, on March 3, 2005, at the age of 82, from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Dick was born in 1922 in Clifton, New Jersey and grew up in New Britain, Connecticut. He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Yale University. He served in the U. S. Navy from 1943 to 1946, initially in the V-12 program and later as an engineering and commanding officer of escort and landing ships with the Pacific Fleet. After the war, Dick became a machine tool designer and chief metallurgist for New Britain Machine Co. in New Britain. He met his future wife, Reatha "Rickie" Trumble of Walla Walla, Washington whom he married in 1947. They later moved to Hanford, Washington, where Dick became a reactor engineer for the new Atomic Energy Commission. In 1953 Godwin was assigned to the AEC's Livermore Laboratory in California to develop and test the first thermonuclear weapons. In 1956, at the age of 34, he was called to Washington D. C. to become the project director for the development of the first nuclear powered merchant ship, the N. S. Savannah, a key element of President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" initiative. In 1961, Dick joined Bechtel Corporation in San Francisco and moved his family to San Rafael, California. At Bechtel, Godwin served as manager of the Scientific Development Dept., manager of Corporate Planning and Development, executive assistant to president Steve Bechtel, Jr., manager of the Hydro & Community Facilities Division and president of one of Bechtel's principal operating companies. He was elected a vice president in 1971 and a director in 1976. Among the many accomplishments for which he was responsible at Bechtel was the development of Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia. Godwin left Bechtel in 1986 to accept President Reagan's nomination as the first U. S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition. This post was created by Congress with a broad mandate to reform and manage the research, development and production of all weapons systems for all four of the armed services. In this position he was also chairman of the Joint Nuclear Council, the Joint Space Council and an alternate member of the National Security Council. Returning to California in 1988, Godwin retired to his Moss Oak Ranch in Healdsburg. Beginning a 14-year "retirement" in the Northern California wine industry, he converted 40 acres of Moss Oak into award winning vineyards. Also during this "retirement", Dick became the associate producer of two successful Broadway productions, Crazy for You, a Tony and Olivier Award winner in 1992, and Kiss Me, Kate in 1999. Dick and Rickie moved back to San Rafael in 2002. Among other lifetime accomplishments, Godwin was a member of the Department of Defense Science Board, a trustee of the American University of Beirut and a corporate director of Adolph Coors Company, Airgas Corp., Associated Vintage Group, Defense Group, Inc., and ICF/Kaiser. He received the "Eminent Engineer of the Year" award from the University of California in 1982. Dick was surrounded by his family when he passed: his beloved wife of 57 years, Rickie and his four adoring and proud children, Richard Jeffrey Godwin of Rockville, Maryland, Lauren Godwin DeConde of Novato, California, Peggy Godwin Bettini of San Rafael, California, and Kent Francis Godwin of Santa Rosa, California. Dick leaves behind nine grandchildren (Christopher, Ross, Hillary, Jennifer, Sara, Alex, Andrew, Ashley and Katie) who will miss their Gramps. He is lovingly remembered by his daughters and sons-in-law, Gigi Godwin, Ken DeConde, Brian Bettini and Lori Godwin and numerous nephews and nieces. Dick is also survived by his brother, Paul A. Godwin of Clinton, Connecticut and sister, Ruth Godwin Travers of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A private Memorial will be held. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the organization that is researching the causes of and possible cures for, PSP. They are the Society for PSP, Woodholme Medical Building, Suite 515, 1838 Greene Tree Road, Balti- more, MD, 21209 (http://www.psp.org/)
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 11, 2005
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