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Born on July 25, 1940, to Alice and Raymond Goodfellow, Fredrick Thomas Goodfellow grew up in a three-bedroom house on 2nd Street in West Memphis with two brothers and six sisters. From such humble beginnings, he would grow to be the patriarch of a large family, a successful businessman, an intrepid explorer, and a relentless patron to those in need. He passed away peacefully in good company on October 22, 2022.
Fred’s rules in life were simple and few: go to church, go to work, and love thy neighbor. He never called in sick or complained a day in his life. It was with that indomitable work ethic that he was able to accomplish so much in his brief time on this earth.
If you knew Fred—Freddy, or Crazy Freddy, to his friends and “Day” or “Day-Day” to his many beloved grandchildren—you could undoubtedly tell a story about him that was equal parts incredible and unbelievable. No obituary could accurately fill the canvas of Fred’s life, but we’ll make an attempt to share some of the high points:
He was a graduate of West Memphis High School ‘59 and attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. He went to as many class reunions as possible until his health prohibited him from doing so, and was a proud member of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) in college.
Fred met his beautiful wife, Donna, while in high school. Three years his junior, she was in the gymnasium when she saw him swinging across the rafters like a circus act. It was love at first sight. They spent fifty years in an amazing, devoted marriage that led to three wonderful children: Mark, Matthew, and Jill, his favorite daughter.
Fred kept two jobs his entire working life. In retirement, he refused to rest and instead opened a successful pallet business. He didn’t have much time for hobbies. He may not have been a hunter or a sportsman, but he was always available for those who needed him.
If you were lost or stranded, he would pick you up, feed you, and guide you to wherever you needed to be, even if that place was his own home. He was always ready to be the Good Samaritan, lived his life as a devout Catholic, and embodied the very definition of the word Christian. He would give you the coat off his back, and did several times much to Donna’s chagrin.
To give one example, Fred was awarded the highest honor from the United States Postal Service for rescuing a postal worker from a burning 18 wheeler on the side of the highway. When he and Donna stopped to see what was going on, Fred asked who went to save the driver. When those standing around helplessly said no one had gone out of fear, Fred disappeared into the flames without a second thought, reappearing from the fire like the angel descending into Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace.
Along with such acts of selfless heroism, Fred was a keen practical joker. The City of Marion often had a front-row seat to his escapades, including elaborate Halloween decorations, building a life size replica of the steamboat Sultana, which was then turned into a copy of the Mayflower—complete with live turkeys—for Thanksgiving, and then Santa’s Sleigh for Christmas.
After retirement, Fred and Donna loved to travel. Fred wanted to see as many of the Olympics Games as he could. His first was Atlanta in 1996, then onto Sydney, Australia in 2000, and Athens, Greece in 2004. He loved visiting Florida with his grandkids and always had a special place in his heart for Key West, where he went every February with Jill.
He would visit Alaska, ski with his sons in Colorado, journey to New Mexico for the hot air balloon festival, Texas for the RiverWalk, Arizona for the Grand Canyon with his mom and sister Rita, Maine for the lighthouses, and Sylamore Creek in Arkansas, where he was always welcomed by the Poker Point men. He even went on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Although Fred will be greatly missed by his children, grandchildren, friends, and loved ones, there’s no doubt that he will be joyfully reunited with his beautiful Donna, beloved Matthew, and constant companion Sampson at Heaven’s Gates.
Fred is survived by his son, Mark Thomas Goodfellow; his daughter, Jill McMahon Goodfellow Childers (Joe); his sisters Mary Golightly (Gordon), Theresa Cyr, Rita Fiduccia, and brother Peter Goodfellow; his grandchildren Jonathan Goodfellow (Fredisha), Joanna Goodfellow, Alexis Goodfellow, Hannah Goodfellow, Sophie Goodfellow, Grace Goodfellow, Adam Childers (Annie), Kaitlyn Griffin (James), Jacob Bozeman, Ramona Paige, Lucas Bozeman, as well as 13 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation for Fred is planned for Saturday, October 29, beginning at 11:00am at Saint Michael’s Catholic Church, 411 North Missouri Street, West Memphis, followed by a rosary at 11:45am. A funeral mass will be held at 12:00pm the same day. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Saint Michael’s School or the charity of your choice.
Saturday, October 29, 2022
11:00 - 11:45am (Central time)
Saint Michael’s Catholic Church
Saturday, October 29, 2022
11:45am - 12:00pm (Central time)
Saturday, October 29, 2022
12:00 - 1:00pm (Central time)
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