Obituary for Nathan Ronald Godwin Sr.
Nathan Ronald Godwin, Sr., fondly known as “Fatback,” passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday morning on September 22, 2017 in Mechanicsville. He was a native of the Eastern Shore of Virginia (Accomack County). He was the fourth of six children born to the union of Doris Savage and the late Robert L. Godwin, Sr.
Nathan attended T. C. Walker Elementary School and was a 1975 graduate of Onancock High School in Accomack County.
At an early age, Nathan accepted Jesus Christ into his life and was baptized at Macedonia A.M.E. Church under the leadership of the late Rev. Carl Brown and the late First Lady, Mrs. Louise Brown. He attended Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and as a youth, he sang on the choir.
Nathan loved his God, church, family, friends, and cooking. He had a strong work ethic; he was employed over the years at Perdue, Accomack Nursing Home, Bayshore Concrete, Wyndham and Floyd Farms. Due to his first stroke, he retired on disability in 2006. This plight brought him back to the church full force. He was so thankful to God that He allowed him to stand and speak of His goodness one more time. He became a faithful and dedicated member of St. Joseph A.M.E. Church. He attended Sunday School and church regularly. While there, he served as a Trustee, choir member, associate missionary member, custodian, and landscaper. Nathan enjoyed making the grounds look attractive. When his late wife of thirty-one years, Bessie Sarah Godwin was unable to dress the communion table, Nathan took over for her. He had his aunt, Serene Washington to come and show him once or twice what to do and he prepared the altar for communion each month. Nathan was nominated several times as “Man of the Year” and received several awards. Too, he was honored and pinned during annual conference at the Missionary Night in White as an associate member.
There are so many unsolicited comments that describe Nathan’s walk-in life. Those who knew him, but in most instances, did not know each other would attest that he was a man of grace, integrity and principle. He had a BIG heart and he was considered a man to be trusted, with a kindness about him that was understated but unusual. He had a unique ability to recognize the moment when someone needed his help and then to go the extra mile with that person. He did his best to keep his good deeds quiet and secret. Nathan did not follow the road that everyone else traveled; he followed the road less traveled and blazed his own path.
Nathan loved having his freezer filled with food. He loved cooking and he was known for his delicious fried turkeys and fried chicken among other delicious meals. Whenever he would begin to enjoy a good meal, he would say “Hallelujah”. His favorite color was red.
His family was his joy and his heart was filled with so much love for each of them. He enjoyed his children and family whenever they would visit. Too, he loved giving orders. Even though he was a big man who appeared to have a strong bark at times, he was a very sensitive man as well.
Nathan enjoyed time spent with his friends fishing, hunting, socializing, entertaining or doing odd jobs with them. Too, he loved old school music, his cars and truck, Fatback1, Fatback2, Fatback3, and Nate & Bessie.
On December 27, 2016, Nathan had a second stroke which was severe. Nathan was taken to Riverside Hospital of Newport, News, and then transported to Henrico County Health and Rehabilitation Center. He had many visitors during his stay which included his family, friends and the Rev. Reuben Boyd and members of the Third Street Bethel AME Church family. After his rehabilitation, Nathan moved to the home of his sister, Justine and brother-in-law, Marvin, Sr. in Mechanicsville, where he received In-Home-Health Care which included speech, occupational and physical therapy. After having completed the program from In- Home -Health Care, Nathan attended Sheltering Arms Rehabilitation for outpatient therapy. He was a real trooper and was delighted to complete his therapy. He continued his ritual of daily walks, talking with the neighbors, reading the newspaper, watching his favorite shows and football games. He enjoyed taking rides as long as he returned in time for his game. Sunday evenings were highlighted with a chocolate shake from Sonic. His ultimate goal was to drive his car and move back to the Eastern Shore.
Even though we were not prepared to wrestle this world without him in it, he left us with each other, stamped with his likeness and filled with his goodness. He leaves to cherish his beloved memory his devoted and caring mother, Doris Hack of Richmond, VA; two daughters, Natasha (Joseph) Smith of Westover, MD and Shaunta Williams, Parksley, VA; two sons, Nathan R. Godwin, II (Falena) of Parksley, VA and Duane (Desiree) Reed of Newport News, VA; three sisters, Justine G. (Marvin, Sr.) Jones of Mechanicsville, VA, Doris G. (Leroy, Jr.) Allgood of Glen Allen, VA, and Iris G. (Vincent) Cooper of Henrico, VA; two brothers, Robert L. (Shevelle) Godwin, Jr. of Cameron, NC and Wayne D. Godwin of Richmond, VA; seven grandchildren, seven aunts, six uncles, six nieces, six nephews, and a host of cousins, friends as well as extended members of the Coston family.