Cover photo for Celeste Godfrey's Obituary
Celeste Godfrey Profile Photo
1928 Celeste 2021

Celeste Godfrey

February 16, 1928 — December 25, 2021

Woodway, Texas

Marie Celeste Godfrey, 93, of Woodway, TX, passed peacefully on December 25, 2021, at her home in Woodway, following a near three-year battle with ovarian cancer. Her wishes were to be cremated and ashes scattered with her sister, Lane Autry, in Corpus Christi Bay. A celebration of her life will be held at Grace Gardens, 8220 Woodway Drive, Woodway, TX, with Pastors Bill and Nancy Bales officiating on January 15 at 3 P.M.

Celeste preferred to use her middle name and was known by her friends as Celeste. Celeste was born February 16, 1928, in Stephenville, TX to Bryan and Gladys (Tittle) Hale. Bryan Hale was a building contractor and her mother Gladys taught Sunday school for over 40 years at the First Baptist Church. She grew up with her family: older sister Marcia Lane, younger brothers William (Bill) and Rodney.

Celeste attended the Stephenville School system. When in high school, she attended summer school and graduated from high school early. She entered John Tarleton Agricultural College at the age of 16 and majored in Mechanical Engineering and Architecture, a five-year program. As Tarleton was a two-year college, Celeste entered Texas Tech College after two years. She borrowed $1,000 from her father and earned additional needed financing by working various jobs as a student.

She worked mainly at the library indexing books with her precise engineering drawing skills. After two years at Texas Tech and working part-time for an architectural firm in Lubbock, Celeste traveled to Midland looking for summer employment. She proudly explained that she interviewed for three positions in one day and was offered employment at all three oil companies. She borrowed $100 from her brother Bill to help with her finances until earning her first paycheck.

She chose to work for Mobil Oil where she met the head of the civil engineering group, James Floyd Godfrey, Jr., whom she married on October 29, 1948. Married couples could not work for Mobil Oil, so Celeste had to seek employment from other companies and worked for Conoco, Mesa, Getty, and others in Midland. She quickly became head of the drafting section. Her skills were in demand and she changed companies to advance her salary. After her son James Bradford was born, Celeste often did contract drafting at home.

Celeste had a special love of water, swimming, boating, and water skiing. She and Jim had a lakeside cabin where they spent weekends for many years on Lake LBJ. Celeste took up art while living in Midland. She worked with watercolors, acrylics, lithography, and mosaics. She was an accomplished piano artist and could play most any music beautifully. Many of her favorite songs she played by ear but could pick up sheet music and play it skillfully. She also played the guitar.

In 1976, the oil industry consolidated in Houston, so Celeste and Jim had to move. She continued work as a draftsman in Houston. When her husband retired from Mobil Oil, Celeste retired from drafting and became a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker. She later entered construction, following the footsteps of her father. She became a general contractor and built and sold houses. Having a fear of heights, she became an airplane pilot to overcome fear. Celeste did well as a pilot as long as the instructor pilot was on board. She never felt confident in the crowded airspace in the Houston area to take the solo flight for the pilot’s license.

Celeste loved animals, especially dogs and cats. She had several lovable animals over the years. Most recently it was Little Blackie, a house cat, who often slept on her bed at night. She was a dedicated, determined, disciplined, skillful lady filled with pride, ambition, and character. These qualities were constant throughout her life.

Celeste was always who she was. She was a private person and loved plants. She would work outside until dark, weeding and caring for her plants. She had many exotic plants and could call strange plants by their Latin names. Her mantra was fresh cut flowers and plants throughout the house.

Jim Godfrey died in 1990, and Celeste left Houston a year later. Over the next 20 years, she built or bought properties in Austin, Corpus Christi, and near Llano, TX. Each time living in the house several years while enjoying her favorite pastime of remodeling and decorating, improving each house with graceful interior decorating and enhancing the exteriors with large, beautiful gardens and landscaping. Celeste’s love for water inspired her to install swimming pools at her houses.

Celeste was involved in an exercise program most of her life. When working, she managed to walk or jog frequently. After retirement, she was actively involved in gyms for over 30 years. She had good eating habits as well. When asked how she made it through ninety years with few medications or disorders, she said she ate oatmeal for breakfast six days a week and often had a heavy salad for her main meal.

In 2010, Celeste moved to Waco after meeting Harvey Meredith, who was at her side until the end. Together they developed a beautiful garden and a forest pathway in the back of her property. Celeste was an excellent dancer and she and Harvey belonged to two dance clubs in Waco and often traveled to Temple for dances. She was a member of the Waco YMCA for the 12 years she was in Waco and she and Harvey were at the gym five days a week. She especially loved water aerobics. Many close friendships developed over the years at the YMCA.

Celeste loved to work crossword puzzles. Six days a week she would work the Waco Tribune puzzle at the breakfast table. She always did the puzzles in ink with perfect lettering as if she was on the drafting table. After completing the puzzle with perfection, she calmly placed the puzzle in the trash. She was a prolific reader and checked out three books from the library at each visit.  She loved fiction and nonfiction, but mysteries were her favorite. In the evenings, she allowed herself some freedom of the day by watching Netflix.

Celeste was an accomplished bridge player and achieved Life Master status through participation at various tournaments around the state. She belonged to the Monday bridge club in Waco and often she and her partner scored the highest points for the day. Bridge meetings were put on hold after COVID-19 emerged, and Celeste greatly missed her friends and the challenge of the game.

Celeste had three large windows on the back of her house. A string broke on one of the blinds and could not be repaired. One day, new blinds were on the windows. When questioned about the blinds, Celeste remarked that she had measured the windows and ordered new blinds. Then she installed them herself at the age of 91.

When she was diagnosed with stage three cancer, she never asked, “Why me?”, but was determined to seek every cure possible. She never uttered a disagreeable word. She endured cancer surgery, chemo, and other cancer treatments. In the end, when Texas Oncology announced the termination of all treatments and turned her over to Hospice, she did not blink.

She enjoyed her remaining days. Her last day was filled with watching a photo presentation of family pictures. She sat outside on the deck on a beautiful Christmas day where the Hospice nurse checked her vitals, which were good. She died instantly and gracefully less than 30 minutes later. Celeste was able to maintain her dignity and privacy to the end. She was a joy to care for.

Celeste is survived by her life partner Harvey Meredith of Waco, brothers, Bill Hale of Arizona and Rodney Hale and his wife, Ruby, of Glen Rose; her son, Brad, and wife, Sherry; and grandchildren, James Andrew, Daniel Bryan, Donald Matthew, and Allison Haley Godfrey, of Albuquerque, N.M.

Registry for Celeste  Godfrey

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