Richard Goddard – 1935 to 2021

Richard Goddard tribute by William Burton

I first met Richard Goddard through my parents. But it was not until the early 1980’s that I joined his Sunday morning walks which started at Union Hall where he lived at the time. Soon groups from the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme joined as part of their qualification. This group grew into the National Trust Hikes, now the Barbados Hiking Association.  There are also many other groups that are direct links to his original idea

Richard Goddard - The Bajan March 1957
Richard Goddard Royal Canadian Mountie. The Bajan March 1957

Richard was a natural born leader who was able to get everyone to go beyond what they thought was their limit. He did this by leading from the front and encouragement.

I have so many good memories of his hikes. One that stands out is a walk that he started from the Airport to Paradise along the route of the proposed ABC highway. This was when it was just a track with marl and loose rocks. He said that we would walk it and he had arranged for a bus to take us back. So off we went. When we got to Paradise he casually said that he got the dates wrong and he had arranged for the bus next week but no problem we would walk back. Which we did.

We continued walking together for many years with the National Trust and in other smaller groups. We soon learned that you never got too far ahead of him as he would suddenly take a turn and you would have to backtrack to catch up. 

He started on time. At 6am he would start walking and it was up to everyone to follow him. If you arrived at 6.02 everyone would have left. If you were lucky you could see his group in the distance and then run to catch up because he would not wait.

As the years passed and he was no longer able to hike I would visit his home at Bleak House. We would always find things to discuss on the history and places and people of the island.  He was always interested in the National Trust walks and asked about the older members who started with him so many years ago.

His interests spanned many different topics. We spent many hours discussing the trails and tracks that we both knew so well. He was a successful pig and chicken farmer.

When I returned from an overseas trip I would bring the pictures to show him.  Sometimes I would print off an interesting article for him to read. The last one was a few weeks before he died on the reopening of Joes River Bridge.

I thank him for starting and encouraging me to develop my backpacking skills. Through him I have met many interesting people.

Richard was a proud Bajan. A national hero and treasure. He was a walking encyclopaedia of all things Bajan.  He would freely offer advice and encouragement but was not afraid to speak his mind no matter whose toes he stepped on. Without his efforts we would have a garbage dump at Greenland today.

May you rest in peace and one day we will meet on a trail.

Richard Goddard tribute by John Knox

During the 1940’s Richard Goddard and his cousin Willie Hassel were often at Adams Castle Plantation which my Grandfather bought in 1939. They came up from “Karen Lodge” in Graeme Hall Terrace where his family loved to ride a horse called Titmus. One walked while the other rode. My uncle was sent there as an overseer to learn the ropes from Mr. Kirton the manager and my mother followed when he became manager and took over the house as a bachelor so I grew up hearing about Richard Goddard from my family and seeing him at Kensington when my mother shopped there. 

I enjoyed the Rugby Pantomimes at St. Winifred’s as a teenager with Richard cast in different roles. Flip Seale, told me the Rugby Team went to Trinidad once to play and as a rookie Richard took him under his wing. “Flip, let’s go for a walk” he was told and as the older members gave each other a knowing grin Richard, “his captain” and he set out. Flip told me he went through areas of Port of Spain he never imagined could exist and saw the grimmest of characters and several hours later, returned to play the match in the afternoon. Flip said he understood why the older members were grinning and did not get caught again.

Richard Goddard pig farmer
Richard Goddard.

In 1988 I started Hiking with Richard’s group in February from Andrews that morning. It was always a struggle to keep up or avoid overshooting only to find Richard had made a deliberate turn. I learnt a great deal about Barbados from the experience and grew to appreciate Barbados even more from up close. Richard stopped hiking later in 1988 with his hip replacement surgery. Colin Hudson used to joke sometimes that Richard had abandoned the hikers as he preferred to be with his pigs.

When Greenland came up and he took his position in the press I called him in support and offered to help in any way I could. It was an experience. First time I ever went to court, 1995. The Scotland District Association aka Richard Goddard, sued the PM, the Minister of Health and the Attorney General. Frank King the judge walked in to take his chair the first day, stopped and remarked that there were more people than he had ever seen in Church on a Sunday. We lost the case on a technicality but won long term as to this date, not a single pound of garbage has been delivered. Unfortunately as he would remark it didn’t stop the Government spending $50 million in digging a hole.

Richard tapped every knowledge resource he knew. At Bleak House, I met Bob and Christine Speed, geologists from Northwestern University who had studied Barbados geology for years and then Hans Machel from Edmonton University. I met “Rugged” the former plantation labourer from Shorey Village who showed Richard the springs in the hills around the dump site and who I suspect informed him the supports on Maynard’s Bridge were giving way under the weight of the trucks. Richard was always one step ahead. Richard once asked “Rugged” how he got his nickname to which came the reply “the women call me so”. Richard could “walk with kings and not lose the common touch”. He had sources of information he could tap from the lowest to the highest. It was a great learning experience.

He took on Arch Cot at a time when the Coroner had something like 500 outstanding inquiries going back to the 1980’s. He enlisted the help of Hans Machel to explain the geology behind the collapse to the inquiry and became a source of information the coroner could look to not only in that case but in others she had. It was the policeman in him. I remember a full page ad in the press at the time of Greenland in which he made the point that Barbadian politicians needed someone with special training to follow up on their actions and he had that special training from his time with the RCMP. His humour was always spot on.

Later on he supported the digitization of the records at Westbury Cemetery going back to 1878 when it opened and the Queree Papers. He was always interested in families and Barbados and had traced his back to the village in England from whence it had come. If I remember right “Cervus non Servus” was the motto on his crest, translated to “A stag not enslaved” if the internet is right. 

He sure was indomitable.

I spoke with Andrea his Girl Friday the day after his passing so know he was in good hands when he passed.

To Margaret and his family, my deepest sympathy.   Richard will be missed by many.

Richard Goddard tribute by Cecile Gibbs

Richard Goddard: 1935 - 2021
Richard Goddard in 2011 courtesy of Hans Machel.

I first met Richard Goddard in about 1986 on my first hike.  We probably started from Groves, St. George.  On the dot of 6.00 a.m. Richard started at a fair clip and plunged into a cane field heading north towards Andrews Factory.  Straight through the cane rows, not a track, like a bulldozer!  This was hiking, not a stroll up a country lane.

Richard had a famous trick of allowing those who overtook him in their exuberance, to go ahead, then suddenly you would hear from the group “Come back, we’re going left here!” He seemed to have a mental map of Barbados, his beloved country, in his head.  The places he took us, and inspired countless subsequent hike leaders, were mind boggling.  We would be in the full bush then come out onto a road and exclaim ‘Oh, this is where we are!’ 

Thank you Richard for showing me, and all your groups, the beautiful innards of Barbados.  Enjoy your celestial hiking!!

Richard Goddard tribute by Hans G. Machel Professor emeritus of Geology, University of Alberta

I have known Richard Goddard since 1996. I treasure him as one of the most interesting persons whom I have ever met. And I count myself fortunate to have been his friend.

The first time I met him was in 1996 when he and his partner Margaret came to listen to a public presentation that I gave under the auspices of the Barbados Museum Society about the ‘Geology of Barbados’, which had been advertised in the local papers. After my hour-long presentation they made an effort to talk to me. Their concern was the ill-conceived Greenland landfill project, and they asked me to support their case to stop the then – Owen Arthur Government – from putting a landfill into the environmentally sensitive Scotland District. I happily joined this effort. It was the beginning of a lasting friendship.

Richard Goddard in suicide cow cave
Richard Goddard in suicide cow cave – 2009.

I soon found myself staying each and every winter in the guest cottage at Bleak House, his home. We talked about countless things and he never ceased to amaze me with his nearly encyclopedic knowledge about Barbados history and its countless family interconnections. And while he could be ‘difficult’ at times when on one of this environmental quests, I have never seen him treating others with disrespect. He was the most honest person whom I have ever met, with a big heart, and a dry sense of humour that brought many a chuckle to all around. Before he was bed-ridden, he would sometimes accompany me to places of geologic interest, even show me places that only he or some friend of his knew about. One of the ‘funniest’ days we had together was our trip into ‘Suicide Cow Cave’, a place named for large conical pile of bones from the many cows that had fallen through a hole in the cave roof, never to leave this cave again.

Richard lived a long and in many ways wonderful life. He enriched us all. The World is a poorer place without him.

RIP, Dear Friend.

Richard Goddard tribute by Matthew C. Reilly, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Gender Studies, and International Studies, City College of New York

Richard Goddard at home
Richard Goddard with Matthew Reilly.

I had the pleasure of meeting Richard in the later years of his life as I began doing archaeological work in Barbados. In asking folks around the island about the history of the “poor whites” or “Redlegs”, everyone would inevitably tell me, “you have to talk to Richard Goddard”. Over the course of the next few years, Richard shared his wealth of knowledge about all things Barbados. He was incredibly sharp, usually following historical facts with anecdotes or jokes related to folk histories of the island’s famous cast of characters.

During my visits to Bleak House, Richard would share old photographs, maps, and archaeological objects he’d collected over the years. He was incredibly passionate about the history of the island he loved so dearly. He held a tremendous amount of respect for the island’s people, from the humble farmers whose names have been lost to history, to those who have their names enshrined on buildings. His years spent scouring every corner of his island home allowed him to recall with intimate detail the location of tiny caves and tombs shrouded in bush after decades of neglect.

Richard was the first person who showed me around the community where his grandfather used to live under Hackleton’s Cliff. This led to archaeological excavations, archival research, and most importantly, friendships with community members I cherish to this day. The book I would eventually write wouldn’t be the same or even possible had it not been for Richard. Riding around St. John in the passenger seat of his pickup truck, I knew I was conversing with a living legend who was at the helm of one of the island’s most successful companies. Yet, Richard was incredibly humble, loyal, and supportive of the community where he had roots. We regularly stopped outside chattel houses so Richard could ask about the health of someone’s elderly mother or inquire about the quality of the season’s cane or banana crop. He was a larger-than-life personality who knew the value of one’s roots and the importance of community.

One of my fondest memories is of an afternoon spent driving the back roads of St. John, discussing what the community used to look like. Much had changed over the decades, but much was also the same. Richard seemed to like it that way. You could sense his comfort in this place and the pride he took in knowing he was among friends and family. As we decided to make our way back to Bleak House, Richard pulled the car to the side of the road where a group of young children were walking home in their school uniforms. After giving them a smile and a nod, they all politely said “thank you, Mr. Richard” and piled into the back of the truck. We dropped them off in turn, Richard of course knowing where each lived in the various tenantry communities along the way. This was a man who had the name of his family and company on a massive building along the highway, but in those moments out in St. John, he was a man with deep love for a place and people who loved him back.

We’ve lost a living library of Barbados and a man of Barbadian legend and lore who touched so many lives that new libraries will have to be built to hold all the stories. He will be deeply missed.

Richard Goddard tribute by Shirley Carrington

Richard Goddard will be remembered for his large contribution through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to the youth of Barbados. He taught the participants courage, endurance and thoughtfulness with his famous hikes in Barbados and the other Islands.

The Sunday hikes were varied and adventurous. There was always a sense of achievement after participating in a hike, hair-raising things like swinging across Back River on a liana or walking along a narrow cliff edge by Pico Tenerife and learning about local plants and geology.

No one could get lost because there was always a Duke of Edinburgh youngster at the back to look after stragglers and drinks were there at the finish provided by the youngsters to raise funds for the scheme.

Richard knew so many interesting things to talk about on the hike when passing through places and villages, he had a wealth of knowledge about place names and incidents that had happened there in the past.

Thanks to Richard the hikes have gone from strength to strength as more and more people realise the benefits and the camaraderie of being in the open air with friends.

May he Rest In Peace.

Richard Goddard funeral announcement

Richard Goddard funeral announcement taken from Lyndhurst Funeral Home – Barbados.

A private memorial service of thanksgiving took place on Wednesday 17th March 2021 at 9:00 a.m. (local time). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Barbados Salvation Army. Click here for the: Salvation Army – Barbados Facebook page or the Salvation Army – Caribbean website.

Richard Goddard: 1935 - 2021
Richard Goddard.

Richard Bruce Goddard, aged 85, of “Bleak House”, St. Andrew departed this life on 18th February 2021. Among his many contributions to National Public Service:

  • Retired Director of Goddard Enterprises.
  • Past Member of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, Barbados and St. Lucia Division.
  • Past Chairman and Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Barbados. Past Chairman of the Caribbean Award Sub-Regional Council. Past International Council Member of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association.
  • Past Council Member of The Barbados National Trust and served as Second Vice President.
  • Past Board Member of the Bush Hill Tourism Trust and heavily involved in the restoration of George Washington House. Spearheaded and played an integral part in the restoration of the historic Morgan Lewis Mill.
  • Council Member of The Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS) 1975-1989 and Honorary Treasurer from early 1980s-1989. Vastly contributed to the development of the BMHS particularly during the redevelopment of the core galleries and public image.
  • Under the auspices of The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS): President of The Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA). President of The Barbados Association of Pig Farmers. Board Member of The Poultry and Egg Production Marketing Committee.
  • Husband of the late Ignacia Van den Branden de Goddard.
  • Father of Rene Bruce (Vanessa) Goddard (Sydney, Australia).
  • Partner of Margaret Deutsch.
  • Grandfather of Geoffrey (Maria), Stephen and Richard (Spike) (Jasamine) Goddard (Sydney, Australia).
  • Great grandfather of Kira Jane Goddard (Sydney, Australia).
  • Brother of the late Betty Atkinson and Barbara Rogers.
  • Relative of the Goddard and Hassell families.
  • Care giver and friend of 15 years – Sharon Andrea Andries.

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Responses to “Richard Goddard – 1935 to 2021”

  1. David Durán (Vzla)

    I visited Barbados several times every year since 1993 until 2003 and have always been in love with the island and its people ever after.

    Today I decided to take a virtual tour around the island and its people, only to learn that Richard had passed away.

    I was very close to Iggie van den Branden-Goddard when I met Richard back in 1993. Richard Goddard was specially hospitable, friendly, intelligent, and curiosity guaranteed he’d always keep learning new things until the moment of his death.

    I will always thank Richard for some of the best moments I spent in Barbados in all those years: a number of hikes (under his recommendation) all around the island; “investigations” about pollution, weather change, farming, etc; the rebuilding of Morgan Lewis windmill; to name a few.

    Like any of us, he was not perfect, but he was definitely a great man, and he will live for as long as we keep those memories alive.

    May he rest in peace.

  2. John D Brecknock

    I first met Richard in 1957 in Canada. He was the first Mountie I ever met. Ten years later I became one. Richard was very close to my entire family. We visited each other whenever the opportunity arose. He was a fine man and a true example of character and integrity. I shall miss him and our exchange of emails. RIP Richard. You made a fabulous mark on my life and many others.

  3. Juliette Hanschell

    My earliest memories of Richard were shopping at Goddards Kensington with my mum & siblings, & being greeted by Richard in his crisp white shirt & sparkling blue eyes. His gift to us at numerous Christmases, of a beautiful Christmas tree was special indeed.

    However, my fondest memory goes back to Sunday mornings at 5am, when Richard started taking some “Crane Crabs” on hikes. I think it would have been in the mid 70’s. We had no idea what to expect, he enticed us with promises of fresh home made lemonade right from his orchard at Union! At the end of that first hike, with aching muscles, sore feet & sweating buckets, we all reached for a cup of that lemonade only to discover that it had little or no sugar!! Coughing & sputtering from the sourness, with Richard chuckling devilishly on the side, we soon realized that the sour lemonade actually did quench our thirst. e really did know what he was doing!!:) After the hikes, nothing could revive us like a swim in the Crane sea.

    The views and vistas from Hackleton’s cliff & other beautiful places opened up for us, parts of Barbados that we never knew, and it was a gift that Richard gave to us. Those hikes then turned into late afternoons at Union, the boys lifting weights with Richard, & the girls doing yoga with Iggy, and Neil Diamond’s Hot August Night playing in the background. Special times for us young people.

    And that was by no means all that Richard did for us. A small group of girls approached him about taking us to St Vincent to do our Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award hike, & he did not hesitate. We could not have done it without him! Gruelling trails, nail-biting boat trip, finally arriving at the top to see Souffriere crater lake! Yet another awesome gift for us & we will forever be grateful to Richard….he was a Titan!

    Richard, you will forever be fondly remembered!

  4. Marion Elizabeth Murphy Clarke

    Deepest sympathy to Margaret and our Goddard family

  5. Gerald Proverbs

    My memories of Richard go back to 1951 when I entered the Lodge School as a prep boy. Since then I have admired Richard’s accomplishments all of which were done without fanfare. I left Barbados in 1962 before Richard came back to the Island. However, Richard did not leave Canada without having made an impression on his colleagues in the RCMP. In graduate school one of my peers from Saskatoon, whose father was Inspector Hills on the force asked me whether I knew Richard Goddard from Barbados whom he met during his policing inspections. He was remembered wherever he went.

    I returned to Barbados in 1979 and was not unpacked before Richard called to say he wanted to see me and talk about pigs and broilers at my office at CARDI. When I told Richard about inspector Hills’ comment, being the selfless individual he was, he took it in stride and changed the subject to pigs.

    I got to know what a giant of a man Richard was not only in stature but in his ability to relate to the ordinary man. Richard gave of his time and was known for helping quietly behind the scenes. He served as a Director of Goddards, on the board of the Barbados Agricultural Society, the Barbados National Trust and the Salvation Army. I had the unique experience to see how Richard operated. He never lost sight of the objectives of the organizations he was proud to represent.

    Richard was a good farmer and produced some of the best porkers in Barbados at that time. Richard was always probing to see how he could improve his bottom line. He loved farming and one only had to visit his farm to see the keenness with which he approached his enterprise. His knowledge of the supermarket business was legend. Richard was never afraid to do or try something new and it readily showed in his breeding of first heat gilts (female). This was before encouraging HIPAC to set up a grading system for slaughtered pigs, a system that is still used by HIPAC today. Richard could indeed be called a man for all seasons. His loss will be felt by many.

    Our sincere condolences to Margaret, Bruce and his grandchildren.

  6. Dexter Hoyos

    I didn’t know Richard G., but our father Ben worked for decades for the Goddards at C.F. Harrison in Broad Street, and I’m sure the Hoyos clanspeople still in Barbados have known many of his family down the years. Rest him in peace.

  7. Lotte Starck

    Sorry for your loss of Richard Goddard, who seems to have been a living legend during his time of life in your community – and somehow worldwide.
    – And now as a remarkable Icon.

  8. My wife and I have fond memories of exploring caves and other places of geological and historic interest in Barbados with Richard, John Knox, Prof. Machel and others. One of the adventures I will always remember was the recovery of some human remains from a well in the Apes Hill/Farmers area, with Richard being determined to find out who the ‘victim’ was and going as far as sending a tooth overseas for DNA testing.
    Richard will be missed, may he rest in peace.

  9. William Gittens

    We will all miss Richard; he touched so many of our lives. May he Rest In Peace…
    I remember Richard as young solider in the Barbados Regiment and a Boy Scout…

  10. Henry Fraser

    … that was a superb tribute to Richard. I have always been very close to him, from admiring him as a boy at Lodge School, to being a Christmas worker with him at Goddards, Kensington, to hiking with him and working with him when I was president of the National Trust and he was on Council. … you’ve given a brilliant summary of his life of dedication and commitment.

  11. Patricia (Pati) Bayley Mull

    My memories of Richard go back as far as I can remember myself.

    I remember, when I was around age 4, him coming to a birthday party at Bay Cottage and driving the pony and cart around the lawn while we were all piled inside of the cart.

    I always stayed in touch and am just happy that when I was last in Barbados in 2018 that he could come and have lunch with us at Clearwater.

    I enjoyed every Bajan story and anecdote that he would entertain us with. He seemed to know everyone’s clean and dirty laundry but would repeat it in such a way that it was hilarious!

    May he rest in peace.

    We loved him while he was alive and even now in death we will continue to love him.

  12. Edward Hutson

    Richard and I were at school together (The Lodge School) during the 40s and 50s — we remained close friends ever since. Richard visited my wife and I on several occasions in Edmonton and, equally, we enjoyed many happy times with him at Bleak House. Richard was an incredibly generous person and my very dear friend. I will miss him immensely.

  13. Dorothy Hauswedell Whittembury

    All of the above and so much more, dearest Richard, you will be missed !

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