Cover photo for Mary Lou Goodwin's Obituary
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1927 Mary Lou 2024

Mary Lou Goodwin

January 4, 1927 — January 10, 2024

 97, died peacefully January, 10, 2024. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harold John Bryant and Christina Galloway Bryant, and her husband of 60 years, B. C. Goodwin, Jr. She is survived by her brother, James W. Bryant (Teddie) and by her children:

Diane Goodwin (Rush Pierce), John W. Goodwin (Donna), James P. Goodwin, and Donna B. Diller (Larry); grandchildren: Read Pierce (Vanessa), Rebecca Martin (Aaron), Emily Urban (Jerheme), Cason Pierce (Rachel), Sada Lewis (Reagan), Susanna McConnell (Craig), David Diller (Aleigh), Lauren Vicain (Jordan); great grandchildren: Bryant, Graham, Leisl, Jamie, Carter, Paige, Gracen, Barrett, Luke, Blake, Josie, Sofia, Isadora, Lincoln, Maggie, Chapel, and Abram.


The Goodwin family expresses its immense gratitude to the staff of La Vida Llena who showed our parents unconditional love, compassion and grace and to the Legacy Hospice staff who guided them through Mary Lous stay in Healthcare, from her first days to her final breath.


Cremation has taken place and celebration of life services will be held at 2p on Saturday, March 9, 2024 in Carter Hall at La Vida Llena Retirement Community in Albuquerque and at 11a on Saturday, July 13, 2024 at the Legett Legacy Garden at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO.


Memorial contributions may be made to:

The Full Life Foundation @ La Vida Llena

10501 Lagrima de Oro RD NE

Apt. 361

Albuquerque, NM 87111


Reflections from her children:

Diane Goodwin          John Goodwin

JP Goodwin   Donna Diller


            Mary Louise Bryant arrived on January 4, 1927, weighing 6.5 lbs, and was welcomed at the third residence in Camden, AR, of Harold John Bryant and Christina Galloway Bryant. Later that year the family of three relocated to Eldorado, AR, where Mary Lous brother (James Willis Bryant) joined the family six years later in their first house (third residence in Eldorado). The following spring (1934), the family of four moved to Tyler, TX, where Harold accepted a position as director of the Tyler Chamber of Commerce. Once again the family occupied three different houses during their nine years in Tyler. Perhaps Mary Lou was destined to marry an itinerate” minister (BC Goodwin, Jr.) because she lived in eight different residences, many rented, before she left home to attend TSCW in Denton, TX.

            Mary Lou remembered a house on Faulkner St. (Eldorado) until her final days. However, her fondest memories arose from her years in Tyler where some of her closest friendships developed, and she served as a cheerleader at Hogg Junior High School and as a member of the Blue and Gold ushering society, secretary of the sophomore class, and a delegate to the Texas Association of Student Councils while attending Tyler High School. She frequently broke out singing the fight song from her HJHS days.

            During WWII, Harold held a position to sell war bonds, forcing them to move from Tyler to Dallas. Although new to the Dallas area, Mary Lou participated in a variety of organizations at Highland Park High School and was active at Lovers Lane Methodist Church.

            The original college plan called for Mary Lou to attend TSCW for two years before transferring to SMU in Dallas. However, she thoroughly enjoyed her years at TSCW. She had fond memories of sock hops and endless bridge games on the beds in dorm rooms. She held several leadership positions in student government and continued piano lessons. She resisted the transfer; however, in the end her parents prevailed, and she entered SMU midyear of 1947.

            One of her college courses (sociology) included a student named BC Goodwin, Jr., who changed his major from electrical engineering to sociology following the war. Although he abandoned electrical engineering as a major, Mary Lou reported there was electricity between them from their first meeting.

            Mary Lou had friends from Highland Park and Lovers Lane Methodist Church involved in Greek Life on campus. Mary Lou pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma while BC continued his involvement in the Campus Y and student government. Mary Lou graduated in 1948 with a degree in sociology.

            Mary Lou and BC married July 2, 1949, at First Methodist Church in Shreveport, LA, where her father had resumed his Chamber of Commerce career following the war. Her grandfather (JJ Galloway) and uncle (Paul V Galloway) officiated at the marriage. Mary Lou and BC honeymooned in Glen Rose, TX, near the YWCA summer camp Mary Lou attended as a child and was noted to have artistic talent. Years later in Carlsbad, NM, neighbor Mamie Jo Pearson introduced Mary Lou to china painting. In 1986, while living in Santa Fe, Mary Lou began art classes that led to a pastel painting phase.

            Mary Lou worked in the Registrars Office at SMU after graduation. After their marriage, she and BC lived in trailer park,” campus housing for married students, until Dianes imminent arrival qualified them to move into newly constructed Hawk Hall, where Diane became the first baby girl to live in the dormitory.

            Following BCs graduation from Perkins, the family of three moved to Norman, OK, where BC served as director of the Wesley Foundation at OU and as an associate at McFarllin Methodist Church, under senior pastor Finis Crutchfield, who would become a lifelong friend and mentor. While in Norman, the family of three lived in a small cottage but moved to the upper floor of the Bizzell home when it was purchased for the Wesley Foundation. John joined the family in this home, arriving while BC was attending a camp. An OU student drove Mary Lou to the hospital. BC arrived just in time.

            After two years, BC, ready to have his own church, accepted an appointment from Bishop W Angie Smith to serve as senior pastor at Centenary Methodist Church and as director of the Wesley foundation at Panhandle A&M College in Goodwell, OK. Mary Lou never lived anywhere without trees and water prior to this move. When she settled into the brick parsonage next to the church, she immediately removed the plastic from all the windows and opened them for ventilation. This period was known as the filthy fifties, and she soon learned why residents sealed windows with plastic.

            During the three years in Goodwell, Mary Lou carried her third child. However, around six or seven months the baby girl died in utero. Mary Lou was quite ill when she finally went into labor and spent a week in the hospital. She had a variety of medical problems the rest of her life.

            In 1956 the family of four moved across the state to Nowata, which had trees, water and a brand new parsonage next to the church. However, the basement, which served as the neighborhood tornado shelter, flooded every time it rained. Diane and John started elementary school in Nowata and welcomed James Paul (J Paul/JP) as their baby brother. During a family vacation to Osage State Park in July of 1957 with three young children and encounters with scorpions outside and a tarantula in the bedroom, BC and Mary Lou decided to look at the rustic mountain property in the Middle St. Vrain Canyon near Raymond, CO. They borrowed less than a thousand dollars from the bank when Mary Lous parents refused to loan them the money to purchase the cabin. The Innisfree cabin and the community of five Oklahoma Methodist preachers’ families became part of their extended family, a family that is now in its fourth generation.

            In a realignment within the Methodist Church, the Oklahoma Conference joined the New Mexico conference as a region within the South Central Jurisdiction. Now appointments could be made between the two states. BC and Mary Lou decided to pull up roots and move to Portales, NM, known as the Peanut Basin of the Nation, at that time. (Diane could never understand why there werent mountains surrounding this basin.) Baby sister Donna Beth arrived in 1961, completing the family of six.

            Having run her own experimental lab for early childhood learners, Mary Lou decided to take coursework at ENMU and to lead lab schools for the church at Sacramento Methodist Assembly and conference churches. When the family moved to Albuquerque in 1965, she continued graduate coursework at UNM and taught kindergarten at Little Corral School.

            Diane and John both graduated from Highland High School and left for SMU in Dallas in 1969 and 1970. In 1971 the family of four moved to Carlsbad, where JP graduated from Carlsbad High School and BC served as Carlsbad District Superintendent. John reports he returned from college in 1971 to find no boxes packed for this upcoming move–her first move without all her chicks” and first move without the role of pastors wife. Somehow the boxes got packed.

            For the next twelve years, Mary Lou removed her pastors wife” hat and learned a new role–wife of a UMC administrator. BC served as Carlsbad District Superintendent, Conference Council Director, and El Paso District Superintendent during these years. The familys relationship to the local church had changed. BC traveled frequently.

            During the years in Carlsbad, Mary Lou had two school-aged children at home. She, J Paul and Donna stayed home nine months of the year. Besides learning to china paint, Donna remembers Mary Lou baking homemade oatmeal honey bread and helping her build homemade dollhouses from boxes. Mary Lou also became an advocate for the spouses of ministers in the district, sharing her wisdom and insights gained in her 20 years in this role. However, she understood many in the younger generation sought to have careers outside the home.

            After J Paul graduated from Carlsbad High School, BC, Mary Lou and Donna returned to Albuquerque where Donna enrolled at Eldorado High School. J Paul headed to Dallas and SMU. Although many friends remained at Trinity UMC where BC served as senior pastor from 1965-71, it was customary for those in conference positions to affiliate with the largest church in town. Mary Lou and Donna joined First United Methodist Church, and the memberships of Diane, John and J Paul were moved to that church. Once again, Mary Lou had to recreate herself. She had a child at home; the conference position involved even more travel. Her involvement in PEO increased during these years.

            After Donna graduated and headed to Dallas and SMU, BC was appointed District Superintendent of the El Paso District. BC and Mary Lou were now empty nesters. To complicate the situation, BCs office and his secretarys office were in the parsonage. They lived in the workspace 24/7. However, without children at home, Mary Lou could travel with BC as often as she liked.

            In 1983 BC accepted an appointment to St. Johns UMC in Santa Fe. This was their final local pastorate, and both took full advantage of the rich heritage of Santa Fe. Mary Lou took art lessons and started her pastel phase of creativity. She also volunteered at local museums. She belonged to the Esther Circle of the United Methodist Women, the Woh Tani Sunday School Class and PEO Chapter F. Living in the largest parsonage theyd ever occupied, it was easy for Diane and Rush and John and Donna A to visit with the first six of their eight grandchildren. However, toward the end of the appointment, BC and Mary Lou asked the church to give them a housing allowance, allowing them to purchase their first and only home, a townhouse at 3174 Plaza Blanca.

            After seven years, BC was ready to retire; however, due to a change in bishops, BC was persuaded to serve as the Clovis District Superintendent during a 3-year transition period. BC and Mary Lou left their Santa Fe home and moved to the district parsonage. Located closer to Amarillo, Dianes family saw more of Nannaw and Grandad during 1990-93.

            Mary Lous vision continued to fail. She stopped painting and began taking pictures for photo cards. Traveling all around the district with BC, she compiled a series of windmill photos plus other shots of the Llano Estacado.

            In 1993 BC and Mary Lou retired back to their home in Santa Fe. They returned to St. Johns and the many friends in Santa Fe, including some SMU friends who spent summers in Santa Fe. Mary Lou rejoined PEO, United Methodist Women and the Woh Tani Sunday School Class. She began making photo cards and sold them in the Hallmark Store. BC rejoined Rotary, the Sunday School Class, and became a regional director for EO (Educational Opportunities) based in Florida, after Mary Lou initiated the relationship with EO. For the next ten years they traveled all over the US, Europe and the Holy Land.


            In addition, in 2000 BC and Mary Lou created the Goodwin Bryant Lectureship at St. Johns UMC in Santa Fe. During the following twelve years, the lectureship series tackled a number of issues impacting family life.

                        2000    Faith, Family and the Future

                                    Bishop William B Oden

                        2002    Genetics and the Family: Future Horizons

                                    Karen Lebacqz, PhD

                        2003    Blessed are Those Who Raise Their Children to be Politicians

                                    Dr. Charles Cole

                        2004    Unexplored Resource: The Potential of Older Adult Ministries–Older Adult Anglos and Younger Hispanics

                                    David Maldonado, Jr

                        2005    Children, Poverty, and the Spiritual Formation of the Caregiver

                                    Dr. Pamela Couture

                        2006    Jazz and Christianity

                                    Dr. Eugene Lowry

                        2007    Lasting Legacies–(Capturing the Stories and Lessons of a Lifetime: New Ways to Preserve Your Family History)

                                    Jeanne Archer

                        2008    Faith Communities and Healthcare for Low-Income Persons

                                    Dr. Scott Morris

                        2010    Faith Conference on Nuclear Weapons

                                    Roger A Meade, Joseph C Marta, Tom W Boyd, Cheryl K Rofer, George Martin

                        2012    Christianity After Religion

                                    Diana Butler Bass       


            As Donna and Larrys children became more involved in after school activities, BC and Mary Lou pondered a move to La Vida Llena to be closer to family. In the fall of 2002, they announced they would move to Albuquerque as soon as they sold their townhouse. In response, their children gave them an unusual Christmas gift–the four children plus spouses would rent the moving truck, load and unload them. All they had to do was to pack for the move.

            This move mirrored the 1971 move from Albuquerque to Carlsbad, however. Saying goodbye to their home, their church and their community overwhelmed them. When Diane arrived the night before the move, she alerted the others to arrive early and be prepared to pack 80% of their belongings. BC and Mary Lou relocated to a motel while the physical move occurred. They arrived at #4105, fully decorated and ready for habitation, except for the many unpacked boxes in BCs office. He spent the next six years sorting through them.

            BC and Mary Lou thrived at LVL, without the headaches of home ownership. Mary Lou joined the art group and returned to swimming, an activity from her childhood days in Tyler. They found bridge partners at LVL and continued bridge games with longtime Trinity UMC friends Dorothy and Wilson Bryant. Mary Lou rejoined PEO Chapter X. BC traveled internationally until 2006. Mary Lou was content to stay at LVL and in Albuquerque.

            BC died Saturday, October 3, 2009. With encouragement from family and guidance from LVL, Mary Lou moved to #328, a smaller apartment, in March 2010. Across the hall lived Jane Lovato, a widow and artist, who introduced Mary Lou to collages. There were many other wonderful residents on her new floor and throughout the community, plus the ever-caring LVL staff, who helped her transition to a life without BC.

            In 2016 Mary Lous declining health required a move down the same floor to Assisted Living. She endured construction and the Covid Lockdown in rooms #342B and #333, thanks to the constant care of her LVL staff and iPad FaceTime calls with family, using auto answer.

In the fall of 2019, Mary Lou was hospitalized with pneumonia, but rehabbed in Healthcare and returned to #333 in Assisted Living.

            Mary Lous health, complicated by blindness, continued to decline. She moved to #625 in Healthcare in August of 2021. In September of 2021, Legacy Hospice became part of her healthcare team. An Apple Watch was added as a landline on her wrist to increase communication options. Mary Lou was always a fighter. She rallied to celebrate her 95th and 96th birthdays in the Sandia Dining Room with family. She frequently enjoyed grilled egg salad sandwiches, courtesy of Gary, in the Corner Cafe with visiting family members; but, her 97th birthday on January 4, 2024, would be her last. In the weeks prior to her death, Mary Lous grandchildren and great grandchildren, longtime friends, and members of FUMC and the Joy Circle at SJUMC in Albuquerque, showered her with calls, cards, recordings and visits to express their love. On her birthday, Mary Lou declared the requested chocolate Wendys Frosty, provided by John and Donna A, as too cold. This was a first! She had little to say to those present: Diane, Rush, John and Donna A in the room while Donna and Larry in New Zealand and JP in San Antonio joined in over FaceTime. However, the following day Diane arrived to hear Mary Lou saying, Thank you, thank you, thank you!” to the walls of her room. On January 6th she attempted to eat and drink some during a visit from Lauren, David and Josie. However on January 7th, she refused all food and drink from Diane. After the scheduled final visit on January 9th, Diane chose not to say goodbye, but leaned over giving Mary Lou a kiss on the forehead and telling her, I love you.”

            As Diane and Rush reached Tramway and I-25 on January 10th, knowing J Paul was driving north from Las Cruces, Randi of Legacy Hospice alerted them that she noticed a dramatic change from the day before. Diane and Rush turned around and reached the room before 9a. J Paul arrived around 11a. Mary Lou was never alone during her final hours, a request shared by Donna Beth. Healthcare and other LVL staff checked in throughout the day. Joyce and Jesmin offered food and drinks and repositioned Mary Lou midday to make her more comfortable. Longtime LVL staff member Joe Gomez came by to check her broken call box and lingered to chat about mutual friends from Portales. Minerva arrived for the evening shift and would later dress Mary Lou for her final sleep. When Rush and J Paul returned from an early dinner, they brought Scarpas asparagus soup to Diane, one of Mary Lous favorite meals. Perhaps she could smell the soup.

            On January 10, 2024, shortly before 6p, Mary Lou chose to take her final breath listening to her children, with spouses, bantering and laughing as they always have and always will. Knowing their political views range from progressive to libertarian, she could relax hearing them embrace each other in this moment through conversation, even when separated by miles and oceans. Drifting back to the words of her 1961 essay on Pre-school Theology (read to her by Diane following her 97th birthday party), Mary Lou probably reflected on her final paragraphs:


                        Later that morning as I made a trip to the clothes line, my four-year-old

                        was swinging, leaning back with his face skyward and loudly crying, Hey God,

                        Hey God!” It wasnt an irreverent, Hey God.” It was like he finally was talking to                                             God and knew that God was listening.


                        Given these and numerous other experiences, it is no surprise to me that Jesus

                        reminds us that unless we become as a little child we cannot enter the                                                 Kingdom of God.


                        Be as a child–ask and trust, ask and seek, ask and accept.1


            With that last breath, Mary Lous soul, the part of each of us which goes to be with God…that part of you which thinks, wonders, asks questions”1 departed her earthly body.

            Mary Lous physical remains will join those of BC, her friend and lover of 60 years,”2 at the Legett Legacy Garden at the YMCA of the Rockies. However, Diane assured Mary Lou there will be an office for BC and an art studio for her.

            Rest in peace Mary Louise, Mary Lou, Mom, and Nannaw. We continue to love you and will ponder your words, written and spoken, and your various art forms–a life well lived.


1From Pre-school Theology: Some Words of Wisdom from a Four-year-olds View: From notes and memories. By Mary Lou Goodwin, circa 1961.

2From a handwritten note, dated August 5, 2010

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