Remembering Mr. Royce Godwin
Andrew Gormally

Mr. Royce Godwin, active and dedicated Vanguard School Board Member, passed away on September 17, 2017, he was 91. Mr. Godwin played an important role at the school, and would make frequent visits to have lunch or just chat with the students and staff. He was a huge fan of the school's basketball team attending as many games as he could and traveled with the team to their tournaments. He was also instrumental in supporting the recent renovation of the boys' locker room at the school.

In 2012 Mr. Godwin made a generous donation of one dozen orange trees to The Vanguard School to begin a new agricultural program to teach students how to properly plant and care for Florida citrus trees. The students named the area the "Godwin Grove."

Classroom Assistant, Ruby Valdez remembers surprising Mr. Godwin for his birthday by bringing some students by to wish him a Happy Birthday and presenting him with a birthday cake; "I was able to take the senior basketball players to celebrate Mr. Godwin's 91st birthday. He enjoyed spending the time with these young men sharing his high school and World War II stories. The highlight of his evening was showing off his Florida Gator room. He was so happy and appreciative of us doing this for him. He explained how he absolutely loves our Vanguard boys, he even felt the need to have to put his Vanguard shirt and cap on for our photo. I am so happy that we were able to make his day as special as he is to us."

Another Vanguard staff member, Coach Dan Sheppard, said "Mr. Godwin was a lifelong friend of mine. His son Joe and I grew up together as close friends and I spent many hours visiting at his home during my high school years. Mr. Godwin was an avid supporter of our basketball team and traveled with us to many games and even took a trip to the Bahamas in 2015. I remember sitting with him one evening in the gym before the game started and he said to me, 'Danny, how great would it be if one of these young men became a Florida Gator one day.' I remember looking at him and smiling and thinking that for him that would be the icing on the cake! After the news of his passing I sent out a text message to the players that have moved on and gone to college and one of them expressed all of our feelings so perfectly. He said, 'I loved that man.' Words cannot express how much he will be missed and this year the basketball team and Panther Nation will dedicate the season to Mr. Godwin."

Mr. Godwin's commitment and support for The Vanguard School will always be remembered, as well as his legacy of service to his family and his community.

The students and staff of The Vanguard School send our gratitude, love, and sympathies to the entire Godwin family.