Phoebe Vivian Godwin

Celebration of Life (November 27th, 1930 – July 13th, 2021)

Phoebe Vivian Godwin, 90 of Lawrence was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend to many. She left this world on her own terms on July 13th, 2021, surrounded by her beloved family and friends.

Phoebe was born to Augusta Rozella Hauck and Jacob Paul Schierling on November 27th, 1930, in McPherson County, Kansas. She received her education through the Inman, KS school system, was a cheerleader, and played the drums and saxophone in high school. Her faith in God began early as a member of the Inman Mennonite Church and never wavered. Upon graduation from high school, Phoebe chased her dreams to become a nurse and to care for others. She attended the nursing program at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, KS where she obtained a registered nursing degree in 1951. Phoebe met her life-long partner, Phillip A. Godwin, MD on July 4th, 1950, while she was in nurses training and Phillip was a pre-med student at the University of Kansas. Their beautiful love story was consecrated on December 23rd, 1951, when they were married in the Wesley Hospital Chapel. Together for 69 years, they had 3 children: Gregory, Amy, and Andrew.

Phoebe helped put Phillip through medical school at KU by working at Lawrence Memorial Hospital (1951-1952) and later at the Menorah Hospital (Menorah Medical Center), and then in a doctor’s office in Kansas City until the birth of her first child in 1956. After Phillip’s internship at St. Luke’s in Kansas City, they returned to Lawrence, where Phoebe dedicated her time to raising her family. Once her three children were grown, Phoebe returned to work supporting the business side of Phillip’s medical practice. As an entrepreneur, she co-owned “Knights” Women’s Boutique in Lawrence. And her love for history and antiques led her to operate an antique booth, “Phoebe’s Foibles” at the Lawrence Antique Mall until 2000.

Phoebe was a very active member of the Lawrence community. She joined the First United Methodist Church congregation after marrying Phillip and was active in the United Methodist Women, the New Act Circle, and a long-term member of the Peacemaker’s Sunday school class. She served on the Board of Trustees of FUMC and was a founding member of the Methodist Nursery School, which opened in 1964. She was a member of the Countryside Garden Club and PEO Chapter HZ, jokingly known by her children as “Phil Eats Out”. Additionally, she served on the organizing board for Visiting Nurses (now VNA), and the board of directors for the Douglas County Mental Health Association. She was a member of the League of Women Voters, Friends in Council, and the Kansas Medical Alliance. She volunteered at Bess Stone Center (now Cottonwood, Inc.), was involved with Mid-America Girl Scouts, and prepared meals for the homeless. Motivated by her love of history and antiquities, Phoebe volunteered at the KU Spencer Museum of Art for over 12 years helping to archive works of art.

As a result of her passion to help those with mental illnesses, Phoebe received a Pioneer Award from the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center in 1988. In 2018, Phillip and Phoebe were the first recipients of the Senior Resource Center’s Godwin Community Service Award, named in their honor for their lifetime support of their community.

Phoebe was both an avid reader and historian. In 1968 she became engrossed in a life-long restoration of their 1860’s home and gardens. She loved to travel with Phillip, and together they were able to see much of the world and be enriched by many other cultures They enjoyed exposing their children and grandchildren to wonderful adventures too. However, the simplest pleasures in life brought Phoebe the greatest joy. She absolutely loved to spend time with her grandchildren assembling jigsaw puzzles and playing board games (she was rather competitive). She was an avid bridge player and cherished the time she spent with her friends.

Phoebe also enjoyed good food and spending time in the kitchen creating delicious meals for her family. Her kitchen was the informal gathering spot for all family events. She was passionate about gardening and took great joy in her yard. Later in life when she was no longer able to feel the dirt between her fingers, she took pleasure in watching her flowers grow through her kitchen windows. She had the wonderful ability to find happiness in her simple daily activities. Her smile and radiant personality were contagious to everyone she met and led to many life-long friendships. Above all, her family was the shining love of her life, and she was their unbreakable glue.

Her life was enriched by being able to stay in her lovely home with Phillip and she wanted to especially thank the Visiting Nurses and the Keep Living at Home staffs for their support and companionship.

Phoebe was preceded in death by her parents, infant brother Harold and infant sister Bernice, sister Evelyn Nordstrom, and infant great-grandson Nolan James Godwin. Phoebe is survived by her husband Phillip A. Godwin, MD of Lawrence, KS; her children Gregory Godwin (Nora) of Keokuk, IA, Amy Wulfemeyer (Mark) of Leawood, KS, Andrew K. Godwin PhD (Cecilia) of Leawood, KS; her grandchildren, Trent Godwin, Eryn Godwin, and Lily Wulfemeyer; her brother James Schierling (Ida) of Emporia, KS; and numerous beloved nieces, nephews and friends.

The family will greet friends and family on Friday July 23rd, 2021, from 5 to 7 pm at the Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W 13th St, Lawrence, KS 66044.
The funeral service is scheduled for 10:30 am on July 24th, 2021, at the First United Methodist Church of Lawrence, 946 Vermont St, Lawrence, KS 66044, followed by a reception at the church.
Interment will be at Oak Hill Cemetery, 1605 Oak Hill Ave, Lawrence, KS 66044.

The family requests donations in Phoebe’s honor to the
Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association
Senior Resource Center for Douglas County
First United Methodist Church

Donations to the organizations listed above are to be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary
Online condolences may be sent to

8 Condolences

  1. Shirley Sheaffer on July 18, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    We are so sorry to hear about your loss, Phobe was a beautiful person inside and out.

    The Sheaffer family

  2. Virgil Lee Brady on July 19, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Phil: Elaine and I are thinking of you and your family. We have fond memories of you and Phoebe and the significant contributions you made to our church.
    Love and prayers, Virgil Brady

  3. Mr. Kim R. Wrench on July 19, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    Dear Greg, Amy and family,

    I am very sorry to have read about the passing of your Mom. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your family during this time. I remember meeting your mother when I was in high school and lived in Lawrence.

    She had such a wonderful style about her and not to mention how Beautiful she was!

    One thing to always remember… is that even though death takes the people we love away from us… Death will never be able to take away the beautiful memories you will always have.

    In Friendship,
    Mr. Kim R. Wrench
    LHS class of 1974

  4. Mary Davidson on July 20, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with your family. What an accomplished person! Take great care, Mary Whitaker Davidson

  5. Carl Vernon on July 20, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Dear Phil, please accept our sympathy for you and your family. Phoebe was a wonderful woman. She was pleasant and a pleasure to see and visit with.
    We hope your memories of her will sustain you.

    Marion and Atlee Vernon, and Dr. Mary Vernon

  6. Mary and Jack Black on July 21, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Jack and I have so many wonderful memories of times we were with you and Phoebe. A lovely lady in every way and we will miss her. May God sustain you at this time. Mary and Jack Black

  7. Bill and Sharon Reynolds on July 23, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Phil-Know that our hearts are heavy with the loss of Phoebe. We have many wonderful memories of church services at FUMC and First Saturday. May God watch over you in your time of sorrow.

  8. Nancy Hedrick on July 24, 2021 at 5:57 am

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Phoebe was a very warm, wonderful, and caring lady and she will be greatly missed by everyone that knew her. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.

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