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Betty Goodykoontz is 100

by Louisville Seminary | Sep 07, 2010
Mrs. Betty Love Goodykoontz of Birmingham, Ala., celebrated her 100th birthday on September 7, 2010.

Family and friends of Mrs. Goodykoontz held a festive birthday party at Shades Valley Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, August 28, 2010. Several alums of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary were present for the celebration, including Mrs. Goodykoontz’ son-in-law, Dr. James O. Chatham (DMin ’74) who with his spouse, Nancy, served as party emcees; and The Rev. Dr. George C. Carpenter (BD ’56) and his spouse, Carol. Carpenter was Mrs. Goodykoontz’ pastor from 1963 to 1972 when she attended Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky. The Rev. Richard B. Hanna (MDiv ’81), Chaplain at Kirkwood by the River, the retirement community in Birmingham, where Mrs. Goodykoontz lives was there, along with another former pastor of Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church, The Rev. Dr. Richard Teaford (DMin ’77), who served from 1976 to 2000, and his spouse, Ann. The Bardstown Road church was also represented by more than 25 church members who traveled to Birmingham for the party, including Seminary friend Miss Sarah D. Collins.

As part of the celebration, speeches, poems, and jingles were shared in tribute to the Centenarian. Louisville Seminary, represented by Dale Melton, Vice President for Seminary Relations, presented a giant birthday card filled with the signatures of faculty members, students, and employees and a poem, “A Tale of a Faithful Girl,” which was sung to the Gilligan’s Island theme music.

A longtime friend of the Seminary, Mrs. Goodykoontz served as the former Bookstore manager and Director of the Friends of Louisville Seminary, known today as the Seminary Relations Department. In his 2003 history of Louisville Seminary, Many Lamps, One Light, alum and Muskingum University Professor Rick Nutt (MDiv ’80) wrote that former President Ellis Nelson, who served from 1974 to 1981, believed that tying congregations and individual Presbyterians more closely to the Seminary was important for the future of LPTS. His spouse, Nancy, worked on that challenge by inviting women from Presbyterian congregations to meet on campus, entertaining them in the President’s home, and arranging for students to give tours of the campus. The project was so successful that it received a Lilly Endowment grant to set up a more formal structure. When the grant money was exhausted and the program was reduced to what the Seminary could fund on its own, it was Betty Goodykoontz, who operated the program on a part-time basis, followed later by Susan Helms.

Mrs. Goodykoontz is also the widow of Harry Goodykoontz, who was Professor of Christian Education at Louisville Seminary from 1950 to 1975 and named an honorary alum in 1997. From 1979 to 1983, she also served as Director of the Special Projects.

Ten years earlier, on September 7, 2000, Mrs. Goodykoontz celebrated her 90th birthday at Louisville Seminary with the campus community. On that occasion she shared her own poem, “How Blessed Am I!”—a reflection on being ninety years old.

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