James Franklin Goodwin was born in Saks, Alabama, on March 26, 1942, to his parents Dorothy and Horace Goodwin. He grew up in Saks and Golden Springs and graduated from Anniston High School where he played baseball, basketball, and football. He graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Civil Engineering. While he was at Auburn, Jim met and fell in love with a fellow Anniston native, Niena Williams. They married on March 20, 1965. After completing Officer Training School, Jim joined the Air Force as a Captain. Their first assignment was at Beale Air Force Base outside of Marysville, California. It was there that Jim and Niena welcomed their first daughter, Kathryn Dain. After two years, they were reassigned to the Air Force base in Blytheville, Arkansas, where their second daughter, Julia Frances, was born. At the end of his four years of service, Jim took a job with Alabama Power in Birmingham, where he and Niena welcomed their third daughter, Jennifer Leigh.
In his long tenure as a civil engineer in Birmingham, Jim worked at Alabama Power, Southern Company, and Georgia Power. He was a greatly admired manager and mentor for many young engineers over the years. After retiring from the power industry, Jim felt the need for a new outlet in the business world and took a job as head of construction for UAB, where he oversaw the construction of the Shelby Research Building and the Student Health and Wellness Center, among other projects. After retiring from this second career, he enjoyed spending time with his family at the lake, attending countless Auburn football games, being a loving grandad to his seven grandchildren, and doing small construction projects and jobs around his own-and his daughters’ houses. He and Niena also enjoyed traveling with friends, including a recent cruise to the Caribbean Islands.
Jim and Niena are long-time members of Canterbury United Methodist Church and have been very involved in the life of the church. It was through volunteering with the church that Jim especially lived out his faith by serving others. He also loved the Sunday School class that he and Niena were a part of for decades and all of the close friends they made there.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Horace Goodwin and Dorothy Goodwin Minshew. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Niena Williams Goodwin. Their love story truly is one that their children and grandchildren strive to emulate. Jim is also survived by his daughters, Kathy (Beau) Byrd, Julie (Shawn) Gillis, and Jennifer (Nate) Schmidt; his seven grandchildren, Walker (Sarah) Byrd, Carter Byrd, Caroline Gillis, Ava Gillis, Elliott Schmidt, James Schmidt, and Owen Schmidt; and many other family members and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, August 22, at 10:30am at Canterbury United Methodist Church. A visitation will be held prior to the service at 9:30am in the church parlor. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Canterbury United Methodist Church.
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