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CUMBERLAND — John Alan Godsoe, 86, died peacefully Jan. 11 at his farm in Cumberland, surrounded by his family.
He was born in Bangor on March 10, 1928, to Helen MacDonald and Walter Godsoe. When he was 6, his parents gave him a bugle, which launched his lifelong love of music. He went on to master the trumpet, playing in high school until his senior year, when he attended the U.S. Navy Band School. He then spent two years touring the Mediterranean as a flag band member.
Upon his discharge from the Navy, Godsoe attended the University of Maine as a French major. He also joined a National Guard band in Bangor. In 1949, while traveling to a performance in Old Orchard Beach, the military plane carrying Godsoe and the band crashed into the Fore River in Portland.
Rather than a setback, his time recuperating at Maine General Hospital was an inspiration that led Godsoe to change his college studies to pre-medicine. He ultimately graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine, and went on to serve as an orthopedic surgeon at Maine Medical Center and Mercy Hospital for many years. It was also at MMC that he met his wife, Elaine, a head nurse on the hospital’s orthopedic floor.
Godsoe’s interests were broad. He continued playing music, as a member of the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s community ensemble. He enjoyed working in the woods, and resumed his study of French. He also learned to ride horses, relentlessly practicing dressage. In his 70s, he and Elaine became such avid ballroom dancers that they installed a dance floor in the basement of their home.
He lived with love for his family and relations, and a curiosity about the world and all its people.
Godsoe is survived by his wife of 41 years, Elaine; five children, John David and wife, Jennifer, Peter and wife, Diane, Kelley Keyte, Karen Keyte, and Bethany and husband, Neil Giacobbi; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Services were held Jan. 17 at the Congregational Church in Cumberland.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Cumberland Food Pantry, 290 Tuttle Road, Cumberland, ME 04021, or to LearningWorks, 181 Brackett St., Portland, ME 04102.