Gary Gene Godwin passed away peacefully on May 18, 2020 at home with family after a two-year battle with kidney cancer. He was 63 years old. 

Gary was born January 7, 1957 to Harvey and Jewell Godwin. He attended Morris Elementary. At an early age he met his lifetime friend Kent Bettendorf. They spent many days, riding bikes, fishing, playing Little League baseball, and catching butterflies for their collection. They even tried catching bees only to find out Kent was allergic to them. 

Gary attended McKinleyville High School where he played basketball and ran track. He enjoyed a good game of poker with his buddies. He spent some summers fishing in Alaska, where his parents lived. He graduated from McKinleyville High School in 1975 and went on to attend College of the Redwoods. He was always curious and had a thirst for knowledge about everything. 

Gary met Julie Bonnell in 1983 and married her on August 16, 1986. They enjoyed their 36 years traveling to places like Hawaii, Mexico, Germany, Alaska and the Caribbean Islands, to name a few. They also enjoyed their home and always had a project going on. Summers were spent at Trinity Lake camping and boating with family and friends. Each year they would take a trip to Rita and Dave’s farm in Tillamook, where was never a dull moment and many good memories. It was Garrett’s favorite place to go. 

After high school Gary took up golf and loved the game. He would play rain or shine until he got older and became a fair weather golfer. He had many friends at the golf course that he enjoyed spending time with. Always ready to play in any tournament they had. He organized a yearly golf tournament at Bandon Crossing in Oregon. Gary loved that trip and spent many hours planning so that it would be perfect. 

Gary also enjoyed telling stories about backpacking in the Trinity Alps with his twin brother Terry, when they were younger. Later he expanded trips to include his son Garrett and nephews. Gary and his family enjoyed camping and boating on Trinity Lake and Whiskeytown with friends. Everybody loved the evenings around the campfire with him telling his Johnny Jokes. No one can tell a Johnny Joke like Gary. He also liked telling scary stories to all his nieces and nephews. He mentored his nephews — Gabe, Joe, Jeff, Luke, and Tyler — getting them summer work when they were young and welcoming the out of town boys to live with his family during those summers. He also spent time coaching Garrett’s basketball teams when he was young and was president of Little League. 

Gary worked at Miller Farms for 45 years where he was the manager of the Power Equipment Shop. When he started there they only had two lines of power equipment and over the years he worked really hard to add the many lines of products they sell today. That was something he was very proud of. He also became friends with many of the customers over the years and always told them, “I will give you a really good deal.” 

There were many great things about him. He loved his family very much and always had time for them. He was so very proud of his son Garrett for the man he has become. He always had a smile and loved talking and laughing with people. He seemed to know everyone. Gary could fix anything and was always there to help his friends with whatever they needed. He will be greatly missed. 

Gary is survived by his wife of 33 years, Julie of McKinleyville: his son Garrett (Jessie & Jaylie) of Redding: mother Jewell of McKinleyville: mother and father-in-law Bill and Darlene Saltsman of Redding: his brothers Ron (Jennifer) of Baker City, OR: Ed and Terry of McKinleyville: Sisters Marilyn Terrell (Ken) of Chico; Rita Hogan (Dave) of Tillmook, OR; brother-in-law Craig Bonnell (Vicki) of Redding; Sister-in-law Sue Kessner (Terry) of Redding and many nieces and nephews. 

He is preceded in death by his dad Harvey, father-in-law Frank and sister-in-law Jennie. 

The family would like to thank the many friends who stopped in to visit Gary during his illness and the phone calls and text messages of support after his passing. 

A celebration of life will be held at a later date, when we are able to safely gather again. 


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Gary’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.