SOUDERTON — About a year ago, as Robert "Bob" Godshall was ending his 36 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, he answered a call for assistance and tried to get help for the people who had called.
Later in the day, though, his twin brother, Dr. Richard Godshall, could see that his brother was still bothered, so he asked about it and Rep. Godshall's answer was concern about what would happen after he left office.
"He said, 'I don't know who's going to take care of my people,' and then he repeated that," Dr. Godshall said at Rep. Godshall's funeral, held Friday, Nov. 29, at Zion Mennonite Church in Souderton.
"It meant a lot to him," Dr. Godshall said. "They were his people. He was there to try to solve their problems."
In addition to his time in the state Legislature, Rep. Godshall, who lived his entire life on the Franconia farm where he was raised and later was president of Godshall's Hatchery, was on the Souderton Area School Board for 17 years and served as Montgomery County Open Space Director and Montgomery County Controller. He died on Nov. 24 at age 86.
"When I think of Bob, I can't help but think of his humbleness," said Pastor Beth Rauschenberger.
"He wasn't one to boast about all of his accomplishments and he worked hard for all his achievements," she said. "He would go above the call of duty to make sure that people were treated fairly."
She recalled visiting with him as he was recuperating from medical procedures and seeing piles of papers as he studied issues in the Legislature.
"He put everyone else in front of his own needs. That's the type of man Bob was," she said.
His parents didn't know they were having twins, so it came as a complete surprise when his brother was born after him, Dr. Godshall said.
"I can truthfully say I never had a major argument with him through 86 years. We always seemed to get along very well," he said.
After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer, Rep. Godshall talked a doctor into doing a bone marrow transplant that extended his life, Dr. Godshall said.
Dr. Godshall also recalled being thanked by strangers and not knowing why, then finding out the person thanking him thought he was his identical twin, Rep. Godshall.
"I think the biggest part, as far as I'm concerned, was what he did with the people," Dr. Godshall said.
Frank Bartle, who said Rep. Godshall was a political mentor and friend, said he could use words such as integrity, honesty, loyalty, dedication and hard work to describe Godshall, but said "relentless" is the one particular word that comes to mind.
"When he had an idea that he wanted to get done, there was nothing that was going to stop him," Bartle said.
Not many people are good at government or politics, he said.
"Fewer still are good at both. Bob was good at both," Bartle said.
Godshall cared about and understood issues very well, while also providing constituent service that was legendary, he said.
"There is no one who did the combination of those jobs any better than Bob Godshall," Bartle said.
"My father is one of those lucky people in life whose life and work become inseparable," said Grey Godshall, one of Godshall's five children. "His approach to life was simple: If you worked hard enough, you could achieve anything."
He encouraged those present to celebrate the good life his father had lived.
One of the things his father was proud of in the legislature was his work on right to try laws giving terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs, Grey Godshall said.
"He told me one time that it was good that someone like him got the disease he got because maybe he could fix the system so other people could get access," he said.
In addition to having had five children, Robert Godshall had 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were by Williams-Bergey-Koffel Funeral Home. Obituary information is at www.williamsbergeykoffel.com.