CDR James David Godek, USN (Retired) (February 2017)

Jim “Goat” Godek, 52, finished his final race on Saturday, the 18th of February, passing away peacefully at home in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

As a ship moves through the sea, its passage is clearly marked by the wake it leaves for all to see and follow. The faster and greater the vessel, the wider and more enduring will be its wake. If Jim were to look back and measure his passage he would discover a wake that is both massive and abiding. He would see one filled with countless people positively affected by his warm friendship, camaraderie, wisdom, boundless energy and enthusiasm. Jim was as loyal a friend as he was a fierce competitor. His drive to win and be the best, to compete and always give his full measure was matched only by his compassion, wit and desire to give of himself. It made Jim a great pilot and triathlete, but more importantly made Jim an even greater man, friend and husband.

Jim graduated in 1987 from Virginia Tech where he was a member of E Frat in the Corps of Cadets. Subsequently commissioned in the U.S. Navy, Jim had a distinguished career as a Naval Aviator flying E-2C Hawkeyes and serving as a Landing Signal Officer with the “Tiger Tails” of VAW 125. “Goat” retired as a Commander in the Naval Reserve. Jim’s next career started in 1999 as a pilot with Southwest Airlines where he served as a Boeing 737 Captain.

An unofficial but inspirational career in marathon running and Ironman triathlons was a passion for Jim, as he completed nearly fifty full and half marathons, and an impressive 8 full Ironman triathlons. The friendships and bonds created through those pursuits were a large part of who Jim was, and what made Jim special.

Jim is survived by his Wife Dana, their Golden girls Reilly and Murphy, his parents Leonard and Marilyn, his brothers Stephen and Robert, Dana’s parents Bob and June Weiss and her brother Robert.

A memorial service with military honors will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at 6pm at the H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts., located at 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454, family visitation will follow. No graveside service will be held.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710. The family would like to acknowledge and thank Intrepid USA Healthcare Services and Hospice as well as the staff from Senior Corps of Virginia Beach, for their support and tender care of Jim and Dana. Online condolences may be offered to the family at

CDR James David Godek, USN (Retired) (February 2017)