JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Jake Godbold’s family and friends entered the Prime Osborn Center on Thursday to celebrate the 86-year-old’s life, many shared their thoughts on how best to remember “The People’s Mayor.”
One man suggested creating a statue of the former mayor waving to a city that he loved and inspired, and a city that many say he help build.
In addition to making suggestions on how he should be remembered, many had plenty to say about Godbold, a man who many say was not just a politician, but a friend they could count on.
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“Back in the day, he and I would eat barbecue out at the old pig eat. It’s not there anymore on Lem Turner out there by Edgewood,” said Ronald Cumbo, who attended Thursday’s memorial.
Some said Godbold was always fair and always told the truth, and his truthfulness is what many said they loved.
“He did a lot for Jacksonville. He also gave my grandmother a key to this city,” said Rosanna Brown.
Jacksonville’s oldest former mayor remained in the public eye and involved in civic life well beyond his two terms as the city’s chief executive and most outspoken cheerleader.
Since he was still active in civic life and a populist figure more than three decades after leaving office, Godbold’s family and a committee of friends decided to hold a memorial service open to everyone.