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Nov. 10, 1931-March 15, 2010

RALEIGH -- William F. "Sonny" Godwin, 78, died Monday.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

Sonny was born in Goldsboro Nov. 10, 1931, the only child of the late Opal Smith Godwin and William Henry Godwin.

After graduation from Goldsboro High School, Sonny joined the United States Navy and served during the Korean War.

Later, Sonny began a long and distinguished career with Southern Bell, working his way up from lineman to public relations manager before retiring in 1994 as staff manager regulatory.

A former member of the Rotary Club of Raleigh, the Raleigh Jaycees and Toastmasters International, Sonny was a gifted public speaker well known for his dry humor and sharp wit.

Sonny valued life's simple pleasures. An avid reader, he often tucked his own handwritten reviews inside a book's cover before passing it on to friends.

He also wrote shrewd letters to the editor of the News & Observer as well as cherished notes to friends and family, which were rich with sage advice and philosophical musings.

Sonny's later years were enriched by solitary walks through his west Raleigh neighborhood, daily meditation and regular visits from his neighbor and dear friend, Fred Parton.

He also talked regularly with his childhood friends from Goldsboro.

Sonny's pride and joy was his 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee with only 16,000 miles. His famous motto was, "I never leave my zip code."

Sonny is survived by his wife, JoAn M. Godwin. Though they lived separately for many years, they remained good friends.

He is also survived by a daughter, Nan M. Godwin of Raleigh; a son, Frank Godwin and wife, Rebecca Lanning, of Durham; and two grandsons, Will Godwin and Tate Godwin.

The family will receive friends Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. at 1011-102 Wirewood Drive.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of Wake County or WCPE, TheClassicalStation.org, P.O. Box 897, Wake Forest, N.C., 27588.


Published in Obituaries on March 17, 2010 1:48 PM