Pastor Paul and Mary Earleen (Huebner) Goddard were born in Clinton, Iowa. Though they grew up just blocks from each other, and had seen each other on the street, they did not really meet until they both were attending Clinton Community College (affectionately known as UCLA - University of Clinton on Lincoln Avenue). Paul was working on an Associate in Applied Science Degree in the field of Electronics Engineering Technology. Mary was in the Associate Degree Registered Nursing program.
After meeting around St. Patrick's Day of 1971, they dated for the first time in April. They were unofficially engaged in May and officially engaged on July 15, when Paul presented Mary with an engagement ring. On December 11, 1971 they were united in holy wedlock. Their marriage has been blessed by the birth of a daughter, Christina. On December 11, 2002, Pastor and Mary celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary.
The Goddards' two families are closely connected. They lived just blocks apart in Clinton. While dating, Pastor and Mary discovered that they were already related by marriage. Mary's great aunt and uncle were Pastor's oldest brother's in-laws. One of Mary's younger sisters later married one of Pastor Goddard's younger brothers, then Mary's younger brother married Pastor's younger sister. Three Goddards married to three Huebners. In recent years, it was discovered that Mary's mother may have been cared for by Pastor's mother when they were both at an orphanage in Davenport, Iowa, where Pastor's mother was both a resident and an aide in the new baby nursery.
Upon graduating from college, Pastor Goddard worked for a number of years in business and industry. The last nine of those years were spent as a chemical operator at Hawkeye Chemical Company in Clinton, Iowa, where he worked until 1982 when he enrolled at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Mary spend the first few years of the marriage as a waitress and nurse's aide, before becoming a full-time mother and housewife. During the seminary years Mary became the breadwinner, babysitting the children of other seminarians in the Goddard's small two bedroom apartment. She continued to babysit during Pastor's vicarage year, and the first few years in St. James.
As part of his seminary education, Pastor Goddard spent a year of vicarage at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Upon graduation in 1986, he became the pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in St. James, Missouri, and later began also serving Peace Lutheran Church in Elk Prairie, Missouri. He has served as Chaplain for the St. James Police Department since 1992; Circuit Counselor for the Rolla Circuit from September of 1995 until August of 1997; and until 2000 he served as Chairman of the Missouri District Board for Human Care Ministry, as well as a member of the Missouri District Board of Directors. In January of 1998, Pastor Goddard was named most community minded pastor in a survey taken by Good Life Magazine. In November 2000, Pastor Goddard was named 2000 Citizen of the Year for Working with Emergency Services. In December of 2002, the City of St. James presented him with a plaque recognizing his 10 years of service as chaplain for the police department.
Pastor Goddard's interest in ministry to and with the disabled stems from both personal and professional experience. After suffering for a number of years with the loss of use in his arms and legs, in 1987 he came under the care of the Muscular Dystrophy Association for an unidentified neuromuscular disorder. Pastor Goddard has appeared on two national and numerous local MDA telethons, and continues to assist MDA wherever needed.
Pastor Goddard's hobbies include woodworking (when his health permits), cooking, writing, reading, and collecting kitchen antiques and coffee mugs. Mary's hobbies include reading, jigsaw puzzles, word find puzzles, and collecting horses and cup and saucers sets. Of course, the Goddards enjoy spending time with their daughter, Christy, and granddaughter, Becca.
On February 10th of 2003, a combination of neurological and neuromuscular disorders forced Pastor to go on disability. On June 1st, he officially retired. The Goddards are purchasing a home in St. James, the city they now call their "hometown."
Update: On Wednesday, September 7, 2005, Mary lost her battle with cancer and was called to her eternal home in heaven. Up until just a week or two before her death, Mary was looking and feeling great; even walking in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life. Her decline came rapidly and did not last long. She was in severe pain for a time before her death, but the hospice nurses, in consultation with the doctor were able to bring that under control. Early that Wednesday morning, I was on one side of the bed holding Mary's hand and our daughter Christy was on the other side holding that hand. Just moments after giving my unconscious lady love one last kiss, the living room clock just feet away began it's first chime at 6:00 a.m. and Mary took her final breath. Amidst the pain of losing the woman who was my life and my love, I will always remember that as the clock was waking up, Mary was waking up in heaven. When I get the time, I'll update the "How You Can Help" section below.
I feel uncomfortable asking for help, but going on disability and having to provide our own home has meant the loss of more that $1000 a month. Disability insurance on one of our debts has taken that out of our budget, and I am trying to cut back to the bare essentials, but the financial loss is difficult to overcome. Mary's death left me with some unpaid bills, that were supposed to be covered by credit life insurance, but a couple of my claims have been denied.
A number of people have asked how they can help me get through these difficult financial times. When I get caught up on all the paperwork related to Mary's death, I hope to set up an endowment fund that would be through the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. The gifts given toward that fund would be loaned to churches, schools, or professional church workers. A portion of the interest would provide me with a supplement to my income. The remainder of the interest would stay in the fund to help it grow.
Until that endowment fund is set up, and built up enough to provide income, there are a few ways you can help me. One, of course, is a cash gift. I discovered that just 500 gifts of $100, or 2000 gifts of just $25 would pay off the mortgage. That would reduce the monthly bills and help me get by on just my disability income.
Another way to help me is with Wal-Mart or Lowes gift cards. These cards will allow me to purchase groceries, household goods, clothing, and materials for the maintenance of my home, and thus take some of the strain off of my budget. A third way is to click on one of the links below and purchase a copy of "Permanent Duty Station".
Currently, I am in the process of looking for a grant, or grants, that would allow me to put a handicapped accessible addition on my home. It will give me the large, handicapped accessible master suite I will someday need, the large kitchen Mary never lived to see, and a dining room so Mary's beloved dining room table can come out of storage in the garage. If you are aware of any grant programs that can help with this addition, please feel free to pass that information on to me.
Most important of all, I ask for your prayers. Going on disability means more than financial hardship. It means a whole different way of life. Moving into a smaller home means trying to decide which of our possessions to get rid of. Physical limitations restrict what I am able to do, especially with Mary gone and the housework left for me to tend to.
In all of this, we have a gracious and loving God. He has carried us this far, even in those times when in fear we failed to trust Him, and He promises to never leave or forsake us. He strengthened and carried us during those difficult days when Mary battled that cancer that took her life. God has not promised that life will be easy. Contrary to what many would have people believe, He has not promised that the life of a Christian will be a life of physical and material prosperity. What God does promise is that in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our Lord, we have the assurance that our sins are forgiven. He promises that when the Christian's life is over, there is a heavenly home waiting where as John writes, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:3-4 (NKJV). Mary is now in that heavenly home I look forward to the day when I too will be forever in the presence of our gracious, merciful, and loving God. In the meantime, I must carry on by God's strength.
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Last updated: September 17,
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