Bruce Godby, 49, passed peacefully away at his home on the morning of March 13th, 2009 after a one year and a half long battle with stomach cancer. Born in Lebanon, Indiana, Bruce made his home in Prospect Park, PA for the last 30 years. Bruce received his B.S. degree in Entomology from Purdue University in 1987. Bruce had over thirty years of experience as an entomologist in the pest control industry. His career started as an Entomology Specialist in the United States Air Force where he serviced military installations in Germany and Colorado and the NORAD Command Center. He joined Western in 1988 and began as a technician, quickly being promoted as a cocoa bean inspector within the fumigation division. As a Technical Specialist/Entomologist for Western Pest Services, Bruce played a critical role as the primary inspector to the C.M.A.A. (Cocoa Merchants’ Association of America) for the past 20 years. His other duties for Western Pest Services included support for both the pest control and fumigation divisions.
Bruce was the loving and devoted husband to Cammie and the father to Jasmine, Erik and Dylan. He was an active member of St. James Episcopal Church in Prospect Park for many years and served on the church vestry and was dedicated to his parish. He was also an active member of the Entomological Society of America (E.S.A.) and Pi Chi Omega, the professional pest control fraternity. He enjoyed the outdoors and especially loved fly- fishing and golfing.
I personally knew Bruce from my eight years of working with him at Western Pest Services as a regional entomologist. All of the regional entomologists, the QA and training team entomologists, and Bruce as the fumigation entomologist and cocoa bean inspector got together quarterly to discuss pressing issues and brainstorm about training ideas. Bruce and I shared a common alma mater in that we were both graduates of Dr. Gary Bennett’s urban entomology program at Purdue University, so even though we had not physically overlapped time at Purdue, we rapidly became fast friends and buddies and he kind of took me under his wing; once a Boilermaker always a Boilermaker! Since I’ve been at N.P.M.A. the past 3 years, he has called me regularly to run ideas past me, or I’d call and do the reverse. He was such a fine entomologist. (Of course, these calls were also excuses to talk and reconnect!)
I saw Bruce last a year ago at a retirement party for a mutual friend of ours from Western. Bruce had traditionally been a large man and with his illness, he had lost a tremendous amount of weight. But, he was smiling and upbeat at the party, and there were those features you couldn’t help but love-the hearty chuckle, the big bear hug and those twinkly blue eyes behind those glasses. His whole face beamed when he smiled. Oh!, and then there were those terribly corny jokes he’d tell…. He’d get you to laugh one way or another!
I spoke with him last about 4 weeks ago and he had just been told to stop working and for the first time he sounded out of breath and so very tired, but even so, that cheerful Bruce still came through. Even though he was battling a terribly invasive cancer, you would not have known it was a battle per se. Bruce was one of the most upbeat and optimistic people I have ever encountered in my life; he convinced you that he was feeling much better than he really was. He also assured you he had a very strong faith in God. I checked in with him every 3-4 weeks or so this past year with a phone call from wherever I might be traveling (as did most of the Western staff both current and former); and he was always upbeat and didn’t want you to worry about him.
Dr. Jill Gordon (now of Mantis Consulting) says, “I believe Bruce valued his entomological education so highly in his life - he was always first and foremost...a ‘bug-guy,’ and so very proud of that fact.” Tom Walters, Vice President & General Manager of Western Pest Services, said of Bruce, “I worked with Bruce for many, many years and knew him to be the consummate professional when it came to his work, and a loving, dedicated husband and father at home. He loved the outdoors and passionately enjoyed fishing. His happiest moments were the times he spent outdoors fishing with his sons Erik and Dylan, and many of his co-workers and friends. His courage and unwavering determination to beat this terrible disease inspired so many people here at Western that it’s difficult to believe he’s gone. He will be missed greatly by everyone at Western.” Mike Goldstein, of Woodstream Corp., added, “I’m shocked to learn of his passing. When I saw him last, he seemed to be doing well and I thought he had the cancer on the run. Bruce had a great sense of humor, was a pleasure to work with and he really enjoyed his job and profession; these things always came through in dealings with him.”
Dr. Gordon found this old fisherman’s prayer that we all feel aptly describes our good friend and colleague, fisherman Bruce:
"May your waters run clear and deep, your stream be free of briars, the mayflies hatch all around you and the trout rise up to meet you….”
Bruce Godby, we fondly remember you and will dearly miss you! Please save us all a spot at your new found fishing hole in heaven.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
The Godby Family
711 Summit Avenue
Prospect Park, PA 19076
A memorial service will be held on: Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 732 11th Avenue in Prospect Park.
Contributions to support the Godby family may be made to:
Bruce Godby Fund
c/o Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 1907, media, PA 19063-8907
In addition, a “Taste of the Town” fundraiser will be held for the Godby family on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at the Firehouse in Prospect Park, PA. The address is 10th & Lincoln Avenue, Prospect Park, PA 19076. Click here for more information.