ABMA Mourns the Passing of Richard (Dick) Godfrey of Felton Inc
Tue September 12, 2017
Richard H. (Dick) Godfrey, son of Cecil and Mildred Godfrey, was born in Bangor, Maine in 1924 but lived most of his adult life in Bedford NH. Dick, who passed away on September 10, 2017, was a man who cared primarily about three things;
he was devoted to his wife Betty, Elizabeth (Wyman) Godfrey, his three children, his sisters, grand-children, great grand-children, parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles and cousins.;
His co-workers –
he believed strongly that a company must serve its employees as well as they served the company; and;
His church –
he believed deeply in service to his god and the church community.
Dick liked to talk and to socialize in its many forms – over dinner, over bridge, during community projects and on the street - with family, friends and acquaintances. He talked intelligently about a lot of things and was always willing to teach people how to do things the correct way. He was a man who never categorized or judged a person by what they looked like, their religion or where they came from. He was a man who never forced his religious views on anyone but would speak out against those who exhibited hypocritical behavior. He believed most deeply in helping others.
When he was growing up, it seems that Dick was exuberant and enjoyed life. People around Old Town, Maine had lots of stories about Dick and he would also enjoy tell entertaining stories of his youth. His favorite was about the day that Betty first came into his high school algebra class and it was literally love at first sight. It was a love that lasted not just through high school and World War II but over 73 years of marriage and right up to his dying breath. There is no better definition of love than that which Dick gave to his family.
During World War II, Dick started out as a torpedo bomber pilot but quickly demonstrated his intelligence, patience and teaching ability as a flight instructor – one of the first to teach combat maneuvers solely by instruments. Before then, all flying was visual.
Having attended the University of Maine on the GI bill, Dick’s first job was at the O.A. Miller shoe tree company, in Plymouth NH, where he quickly became general manager. When that company was sold in 1963 he moved his family to Bedford to manage Felton Brush where he would spend the remainder of his career; becoming President and General Manager in 1969. When that Manchester company was threatened with sale and/or closure, Dick assembled a management team to buy the company with financing from the New Hampshire Economic Development Authority. It was a time of terrifyingly sky-rocketing interest rates, but they survived - saving the jobs and the company that eventually his son Mark would run before turning it over to employee ownership. Transforming an old style New England manufacturing company into a thriving 21st century business is just one of his legacies. In doing so he exhibited leadership locally and nationally through the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association and the American Brush Manufacturers Association.
Dick also was engaged with several community organizations including the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Chairman of Boy Scouts, Manchester United Way, Bedford Little League, Board of Directors of Manchester Y.M.C.A., the Amoskeag Bank and the Kukunsook Camp Owners Association.
When Betty and Dick moved to Plymouth they became active in the Plymouth Methodist church and when they moved to Bedford NH in 1963, they embraced the Bedford Presbyterian Church providing contributions of leadership, service and support until his final days.
Most important of all to Dick was being with his family, whether at their home in Bedford or at “the lake”, the family’s tranquil cottage on Pushaw Lake in Old Town. He gave great love and support to his children, Samantha Maynard and her husband Tom Maynard, Richard Godfrey Jr. and his wife Carla DeStefano, and Mark Godfrey and his wife Darlene Godfrey as well as to his grand-children Lara, Jess, Emily, Zach, Sarah, Tim, Ian, Livy, Brandon, Ryan and their families.
Dick Godfrey was a man who strove for success but only to make the world a better place for everyone.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to either the Bedford Presbyterian Deacon Fund or the Birch Hill Benevolent Fund which assist individuals and families.
There will be a service at the Bedford Presbyterian Church, 4 Church Road, Bedford NH 03110 at 1:00 PM on Thursday, September 14, 2017, followed by a reception in the church parish hall.