John D. Godsey, theology professor

Thursday, October 28, 2010; 7:09 PM

John D. Godsey, 88, professor of systematic theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in the District from 1968 to 1988, died of cardiac arrest Oct. 12 at Asbury Methodist Village retirement community in Gaithersburg. Dr. Godsey had been a professor emeritus at the seminary since he retired. He became an expert on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and member of the German resistance during World War II who was executed in 1945 for his role in the failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He co-edited the book "Ethical Responsibility: Bonhoeffer's Legacy to the Churches" and was a founding member of the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society. John Drew Godsey, a native of Bristol, Tenn., served in the Army in the Philippines during World War II.He received a bachelor's degree in dairy manufacturing from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 1947 and a bachelor's degree in divinity in 1953 from Drew University Theological School in Madison, N.J., where he taught from 1956 to 1968. He received his doctorate in theology in 1960 from the University of Basel in Switzerland. He was a past president of the American Theological Society and a member of Bethesda United Methodist Church. He was a Bethesda resident until 2008. His first wife, Emalee Caldwell Godsey, died in 1993 after 50 years of marriage. His second wife, Cozette Barker Godsey, died Oct. 13 after 15 years of marriage.Survivors include four children from his first marriage, Emalee G. Murphy of Kensington, John D. Godsey Jr. of Bradenton, Fla., Suzanne G. Douglas of Asheville, N.C., and Gretchen G. Brownley of Westminster, Md.; three stepchildren, James A. Barker of Bethesda, Christopher Barker of Great Falls and John Barker of San Francisco; two sisters; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

- Lauren Wiseman


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