Though he has lived in his current home for 15 years — and in our neighborhood for 40 — figuratively speaking, Preston Hollow resident Bryghte Godbold has been around the block a few times.


Not only has he retired three times, but at an age that he says makes him “old enough not to tell,” he still travels the world with his wife, Patricia, and stays active in the Dallas civic life he helped form.


Born in Selma, Ala., Godbold has been in Dallas since 1963, though he retains his Deep South accent. He’s the kind of straightforward man that, when asked why he came out of retirement twice, answers, “Because I did,” without a hint of exasperation.


Godbold’s manner was likely instilled in him during his first career in the Marines. During that time, he served in both the Pacific and Korean wars, eventually rising to the rank of Brigadier General. Asked how he rose to such a high station, Godbold is characteristically to the point. 


“First, you have to be successful in your early years in the Marine Corps,” he says. “Second, you have to be lucky — meaning you have to fight a couple of wars and not get killed or badly wounded. And then you have to sort of be in the right spot at the right time when the opportunity comes along.”


After his military retirement, Godbold worked as an administrator for Purdue and New York universities, and finally came to Dallas to serve as vice president of what is now the University of Texas at Dallas (then called the Graduate Research Center ).


          Godbold’s third career is what made his mark on the cultural landscape of our city. For eleven years in the ’60s and ’70s, he served as executive director of former Mayor Erik Jonsson’s Goals for Dallas , created after the Kennedy assassination to help direct a town in turmoil.


His work there included development of the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport , the largest airport in the world at the time. The organization’s other major accomplishments included installing air conditioning in all Dallas public schools, opening eight new branch libraries, strengthening higher education and opening the Dallas Arboretum.


For Godbold, who served on the Arboretum’s founding committee and is an avid gardener himself, it was a proud achievement. 


“It’s one of the three great gardens in now,” he says.


          As retired as he’s probably ever going to get, Godbold is still trying his hand at new projects. He serves on the board of The Science Place in Fair Park and owns part of the Schramsberg winery, a champagne-producing vineyard in the Napa Valley .


“A few years ago we were invited to a Paris wine show. Not only did we win the prize for best champagne, but we were awarded Best Wine of Show,” he says, adding with a smile: “The French have not invited us back.”


Of his many endeavors in life, Godbold insists: “Nobody could have been more lucky than I am. I’ve been permitted to and had the opportunity to do a great variety of things, and I’ve been moderately successful in most of them.”


 Though he relaxes more than he used to, Godbold says he’s “still trying to stretch the day to 26 hours.


“My problem,” he says, “is having too many interests and too little time.”


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