A Celebration of Life for Vic Goodknight (98) will be on May 11, 2019, at 11 a.m. in the Mason Chapel of Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, OK. He died Tuesday, April 2, in Arlington, TX.
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John Victor was born on Armistice Day 1920 in an oil lease house near Nowata, OK to Charles August and Hattie Ruth Goodknight. Vic was the 4th of 6 children, 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Country life involving farming, cattle, gardening, and operating oil leases and sawmills sustained the family through the 1920s and the Great Depression. After several moves in the 1930s, the family settled in the Caney, KS area where Vic graduated high school. He studied accounting for a year at Coffeyville College before he left for Aircraft Welding School in Wichita, KS and a job with Cessna Aircraft. At Aircraft Welders, he met a secretary, Betty Jean Schnell, the “most beautiful girl in Yates Center, KS”. They wed on June 26, 1943.
Vic initially enlisted in the Army Air Force in late 1943 and trained to fly P-51s. Later planes and welders were needed more than pilots, so the Army placed him on inactive service status to work on B-29s. He reentered the service in 1944, and after the couple’s service moves to Ohio, California and Nebraska, Vic was deployed to the Pacific Theater in February 1945. He landed on Iwo Jima on March 14, 1945. As part of the 21st Bomber Command, he repaired and serviced B-29s involved in the Japan offensive. He was discharged as a corporal in April 1946.
The couple soon moved to Wichita where Vic’s employment with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway company began. He started as a freight handler and moved to stenotype clerk and freight agent after more accounting training. Promotions moved the couple to Atchison, KS, in 1953 and to Tulsa, OK in 1956, where they remained for 61 years. Children arrived in 1949 (Craig) and 1955 (Vicki), and Vic was involved in their activities such as Boy Scouts, fishing, hunting and golf. After 38 years, Vic retired in 1984; his last 13 years with the railway involved traveling as an area sales representative in Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
Vic and Betty enjoyed their neighbors, friends, and church activities, and the couple took pride in keeping their house and cars in immaculate condition. A travel passion took them through most of the lower 48 in the U.S. and southern Canada, as well as overseas trips to Hawaii, Europe and Central America. Many trips/vacations were visits to children in Texas and western Colorado.
Vic’s passions included fishing, quail hunting, golf, bowling, gardening, repairing things, playing bridge, finding and distributing pecans, working jigsaw puzzles, and “managing” his local squirrel population. His love of outdoor pursuits and his keen observational skills were passed on to his children. He was a proud Okie and loved to recite or sing the original Oklahoma state song, “Oklahoma, A Toast.” As one of the rapidly dwindling “Greatest Generation,” he enjoyed the Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2014, to see the World War II and other memorials. After moving to Texas, he also attended monthly programs for veterans held by Roll Call.
Vic is survived by his children Craig Goodknight and Vicki Dixon (son-in-law, Steve); grandchildren Steven Goodknight, Mike Goodknight (wife, Nicole), Lucinda Stoneberger (husband, Brad), and Lauren Dixon; great-grandchildren Mason and Zoe Goodknight, and Heidi, Cyrus, and Henry Stoneberger; nieces JoAnn Teague and Carol Weirwich (husband, Les); nephews LeRoy Goodknight (wife, Kay), Howard Goodknight Jr., and Mike Fairchild.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Betty, in July 2018, after celebrating 75 years of marriage. Also preceding him in death were his parents, brothers, sisters, and many friends he made during his long life.
In 2017, Vic and Betty moved to Arlington, TX to Atria Senior Living. The family thanks the staff at Atria and Legend (in Tulsa) for their compassionate care of Vic and Betty. Special thanks also to their neighbors and friends in Oklahoma, particularly to Linda Walls and Carol West for their assistance and support.
Remembrances may be posted at https://wadefamilyfuneralhome.com/book-of-memories/3790065/Goodknight-John/index.php. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Hospice of Texas (www.chot.org), Roll Call (www.roll-call.org) or Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa.
Wade Family Funeral Home & Crematory