top of page

Create Your First Project

Start adding your projects to your portfolio. Click on "Manage Projects" to get started

Godwin, Roy Allen

In Memory Of Roy Allen Godwin

Mr. Bobby Adams and Mr. Robert L. Pearce, Jr. sponsored this memorial to their friend Roy Allen Godwin.

Roy Allen Godwin came into the world on December 6, 1941, just in time to celebrate Christmas with his parents, Dock Turner Godwin Jr. and Glennie Watson Godwin. Dock and Glennie raised Roy on the family farm that began operation a generation earlier by Dock Turner Godwin Sr., a highly respected and well-known man in Johnston County. Regretfully, Dock Jr. suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 34, and left Roy to the care of his mother.

Roy did not have to search hard for another father figure, however, when he came under the tutelage of his uncle, Melvin H. "Buddy" Watson. Buddy taught Roy all the skills needed to farm tobacco along with instilling the values of respecting other people and pursuing an education. Roy attended Glendale high school, did well academically, played on the basketball team, and became the president of his class. Upon his graduation, Roy attended Atlantic Christian Collage (later Barton College), continued to work with his uncle, and held many part-time jobs until being hired by R.J. Reynolds as a company leaf buyer.

Roy worked for R.J. Reynolds for thirty years, usually being on the road for eight months at a time, buying tobacco at Durham and Louisburg, North Carolina, and Ripley, Ohio. During his employment, he developed many close friendships within the company and earned his peer's highest regards. He also followed in his grandfather's footsteps by becoming especially well-known around his home in Johnston county. His most cherished relationships, however, were with his family.

Roy married Barbara Narron and the couple had a daughter they named Molly Jo Allen Godwin. Molly quickly became the biggest joy of Roy's life, and his world revolved around her care. He thrived on spending time with his daughter, knowing the people Molly associated with, and becoming an active parent in her school. He desired the best for her, including a good education and to have her become a fine, responsible women. Of all Roy's passions, the love for Molly is remembered most by his family.

When Roy had time without Molly, he stayed very active in his community after retiring from R.J. Reynolds. The other legacy, besides his daughter, that Roy helped create was the founding of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly. He actively participated in fundraisers starting in 1984, served on the steering committee, and provided some much-needed guidance. Roy's hard work and inspiration helped to create a museum that would preserve and share his community's heritage while giving back something to the people he cherished.

Roy Godwin had much to live for and more work to do before he perished in 2001. During the early morning hours of June 5, Roy's home caught on fire from an unknown cause and seriously injured him. Airlifted to the UNC burn center in Chapel Hill, Roy struggled to survive for three days. At 12:20 p.m. on June 8, however, Roy succumbed to his injuries and passed away. Although his sudden departure left many to mourn his loss, Roy Allen Godwin inspired many more through the joy he brought to his friends, family, and community.

Company Leaf Buyer Helps Create Museum

The citizens of Kenly, N.C., have "Pride in Tobacco."

They have so much pride, in fact, that they're telling the story of their tobacco heritage to people from across the nation.

Their method of storytelling is the new Tobacco Museum of North Carolina, located in Kenly at Exit 107 off Interstate 95. The museum has been a community effort from the beginning — starting with tobacco farm tours and a borrowed restaurant building.

One resident who has been instrumental in helping to make the museum a success is Roy Godwin, a leaf buyer for Reynolds Tobacco.

"When the people in this town decide to do something, there's no stopping them," says Godwin, who buys on the Durham and Louisburg, N.C., and Ripley, Ohio, markets. "The sky's the limit." And that determination is what has built the museum.

"Some of the local farmers wanted to restore the tobacco heritage and to attract tourists from 1-95 back to the town," says Godwin. "We decided we needed a landmark and that a museum would be the most appropriate tribute.

"So we organized ourselves and started conducting tours of area tobacco farms.
The intention of the farm tours was to educate the public about the crop, he says.
Godwin, who travels eight months of the year, wanted to do something to help raise money for a permanent museum home.

He and his wife helped sell raffle tickets for a car at the first Kenly "Pride in Tobacco" festival, held in June 1984.

Godwin also served as a member of the steering committee for the museum. The committee was responsible for recommending courses of action for the museum's board of directors.

During the festivals, which helped defray the cost of the museum, the Godwins sponsored a soft-drink stand.

"We had a stuffed Santa Claus and put a pair of old blue jeans, tennis shoes, a red T -shirt and a 'Pride in Tobacco' cap on him," says Godwin. "We had the letters 'R.J.' printed on the shirt. And, of course, that attracted folks to our stand. They wanted to know about the letters and who 'R.J.' was.

"I told them about the company's founder and how he started Reynolds Tobacco from meager beginnings," says Godwin.

Whatever has needed to be done at the festivals, Godwin has always been willing to lend a helping hand. During the first festival, he took on the responsibility of securing gasoline contributions for vans for the on-farm tours. He also helped set up booths and tables.

"I've planned my vacation around the opening of this museum," says Godwin. "I wouldn't miss it for the world."

"We hope visitors will realize that this is where our economy is rooted," he says. "People's lives depend on this industry."

This article appeared in R.J. Reynolds's July, 1986, publication of "Caravan. " The journal ceased to run in 1991. Photo courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Contributions by Bobbi N Godwin and Molly Jo Allen Godwin made this Memorial page for Roy Godwin possible.

Roy Allen Godwin
December 6, 1941 — June 8, 2001

bottom of page