Cover photo for Walter Hayes Godwin, Jr.'s Obituary
Walter Hayes Godwin, Jr. Profile Photo

Walter Hayes Godwin, Jr.

October 2, 1948 — October 31, 2023

Walter Hayes Godwin, Jr.

   Judge Walter Hayes Godwin, Jr., of Tarboro, North Carolina, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

   Born on October 2, 1948 in Norfolk, Virginia to proud parents Walter Hayes Godwin, Sr. and Susan Rudisill Godwin, he was an only child who embraced this role growing up in Gatesville with many aunts, uncles and first cousins. Walter attended Gatesville High School and was the quarterback of the football team, graduating in 1967 among a class of 100 students. Attending both Chowan College and Atlantic Christian College, he completed his Bachelors in 1971. Following graduation, Walter moved to Tarboro and served the citizens of Edgecombe County as a Probation Officer from 1971 to 1974. He then enrolled at North Carolina Central University School of Law earning his Juris Doctorate in 1977.

   Returning to Tarboro and opening his law practice following graduation, Walter was a sole practitioner, and later practiced law with William Spivey for a number of years. In 2008 he was appointed to the vacant Superior Court judge’s seat in Edgecombe County by then NC Governor Michael F. Easley. Running unopposed and winning the next two elections, he was required to retire from the bench in October 2020 at the age of 72.

   Despite his accomplishments, it was his family that made him most proud. Walter’s many friends will remember his kind spirit and contagious laugh. The simple things in life made him the happiest; whether it was spending time with his family, practicing law, telling a funny story from one of his uncles, having lunch with his buddies, hunting on the Currituck Sound or fishing in the Roanoke River. He had a remarkable memory and could quickly tell you the results of his high school football games or the details of an overseas family trip.

   In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a cherished grandson, Baker Maston Crawford; and by first cousins, A.P. Godwin, III and David Hayes Godwin.

   Surviving are several beloved family members including his former wife, Margaret Transou Godwin; his son, Matthew Hayes Godwin, Sr. and wife, Dr. Marci Sutton Godwin of Morehead City; his daughter, Jodie Godwin Crawford and husband, Rick Crawford of Charleston, SC; and grandchildren, Sutton West Godwin, Mabel Hayes Godwin, Matthew Hayes Godwin, Jr., Emma Claire Crawford, and his newest love, Caroline Wright Crawford. Surviving first cousins include John Boddie, Gretchen MacNair and husband Van, Evelyn Kientz and husband Frank, Mabel Kinney and husband Tom, Ned Godwin and wife Elva, and Pitt Godwin and wife Nora.

   Graveside services, open to family and friends, will be held Saturday, November 4th, at 11:00 a.m. on the Godwin Family Plot in the Town of Gatesville Cemetery.

   A memorial service will be Sunday, November 5th, at 3:00 p.m. in Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception and time of visitation in the church memorial hall immediately following the service.

   In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Calvary Episcopal Church, 411 East Church Street, Tarboro, NC 27886.

   Carlisle Funeral Home of Tarboro, and Miller Funeral Home of Gatesville, are assisting the family with arrangements.


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Past Services

Graveside Memorial Service

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

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