Rev. French M. Gothard, age 86, passed away on Tuesday, October 11, 2016.
He was born in Akron, OH on January 24, 1930, and was the only son of the late John and Mary Gothard. He was an incredible brother to his sisters, Frances (Ivan) Reiff, the late Evelyn Newberry and the late Sheila Craig.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Ruth Hill Gothard; sons, David (Kathy) Gothard, Tim (Sandy) Gothard and Tom (Romelyn) Gothard; daughters, Lenna Gothard (Bill) Allen and Mary Gothard (Gene) Wood; sister, Frances (Ivan) Reiff; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren.
Rev. French received a Bachelor of Science degree from Middle Tennessee State University, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Sacred Theology and Doctor of Ministry degree from Andover Newton Theological School. Rev. French was an Elder in the United Methodist Church, and in 1959 he retired from the Tennessee Conference of UMC.
He proudly entered the United States Navy in 1948, where he retired as a Commander after 29 years. During his time in the U.S. Navy, he was an enlisted Boiler Tender on board a "baby flattop" carrier and LST during the Korean Conflict. He further served as a Navy Chaplain with the Seabees in Vietnam, onboard ships, Naval Air Stations, at Naval hospitals, with the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, at NAS Cubi Point, and in the Philippine Islands.
In 1950 Rev. French married the love of his life; Ruth, in Ringgold, GA. He was a loving and caring father to their five children, and later to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. While he traveled to almost every state and many locations worldwide during his lifetime, he loved the trips out west with Ruth to prospect for gemstones the most. He was a highly talented and accomplished craftsman in fine woodworking, an expert in rock hounding and lapidary, and he taught classes at the Donelson Senior Center.
A Life Celebration service will be held 11:30 AM Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at Pennington United Methodist Church, 2745 Pennington Bend Road with Rev. Bud Alexander officiating.
Family and friends are invited to share memories at the church from 4 - 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 18, 2016, and also one hour prior to the service on Wednesday.
Interment with Full Military Honors will follow at Middle TN State Veterans Cemetery.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, please make donations to Pennington United Methodist Church.
Cremation and Funeral Services of Nashville were in charge of the services.