Late mathematics teacher taught at SBCC for 31 years

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KATHYVAN TRAN, Associate Editor

Former mathematics teacher Ronald R. Godar died at his home Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. He was 84.

“He was a very caring individual. He had so many positive features,” said Frank Stevens, retired San Marcos counselor. “It helped make us all better people being around with other positive people.”

Godar was best known as a full-time teacher at San Marcos High School where he taught for 30 years. He was also a long-term adjunct instructor in the mathematics department. He taught algebra and pre-calculus for 31 years at City College from Spring 1975 to Spring 2006.

“I think he was a great teacher for the lower level classes,” said mathematics professor Robert Elmore, who worked with Godar for 26 years. “He liked teaching. You could tell.”

Godar first began working at San Marcos High School in the fall of 1963. Stevens, who worked with Godar 25 of his 33 years at San Marcos, said that if anyone had a particular question about math, he was always there to help.

Retired mathematics teacher Don Bennett began working at San Marcos the same fall as Godar. He said the two maintained a family relationship over the next 50 years. Godar’s daughters, Karrie and Kate, babysat for Bennett’s children.

“[We] were real close friends for years and years,” Bennett said.

When Godar was not teaching math, he was active in the community, volunteering with organizations such as Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Planned Parenthood and the Santa Barbara Airport. Godar volunteered with the museum since its opening in July 2000.

According to Jennifer Haake, guest services and volunteer coordinator at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Godar volunteered there every Friday afternoon during the five years that she worked there. He served as a greeter welcoming people into the museum.

“He was just very full of life, friendly, outgoing,” Haake said. “He loved meeting people.”

Considered one of the original museum volunteers, Godar was honored for his longtime involvement with the museum in a benefit in 2014.

“So many people knew him from San Marcos,” she added. “Sometimes people would go up to the [front desk] and see him and they would remember him and he remembered their names. He could go 20 years without seeing someone and remember them walking by. He was a really special guy.”

Born on Nov. 23, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois, Godar was raised in Glen Ellyn, Illinois where he graduated from Glenbard High School in 1950. He attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs from 1951 to 1952 where he met his future wife Derry. The couple wed in 1956 and were married for 55 years until her death in 2011.

In 1952, Godar enlisted in the Coast Guard where he served for four years. He attended UCSB on the GI bill where he graduated with a bachelor’s in mathematics in 1960. He also received a master’s in natural science from Seattle University in 1972.

Prior to teaching at San Marcos, Godar taught at Santa Cruz Junior High, Santa Cruz High School and Hueneme High School in Oxnard. In 1964, Godar moved to Santa Barbara and remained teaching at San Marcos High School until his retirement in June 1993.

“He had a passion for teaching. He never looked at his job as going to work,” daughter Karrie Roth said. “He looked at it as something he enjoyed every single day. He absolutely loved teaching and he loved math.”

Godar is survived by his sister Susan Fridley of Santa Barbara, three children Karrie Roth of Red Bluff, California, Kate Seifert of Bend, Oregon, Parke Godar of San Luis Obispo, California, and his five grandchildren. No memorial services are planned. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Godar’s honor to Planned Parenthood and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.