Isabella Godby

Honored by:John Godby, Jean Godby Wright, & Mary Godby Ray
Brick location:A:19  map

Isabella King Anderson Foster Godby was born on the Williamson Farm north of Earlham on January 8, 1906. She was the only child of Henry and Jameseen Foster who had immigrated from Scotland. Henry and a brother Gladstone Foster farmed a number of acres south of Earlham and were known for being excellent cattle feeders and livestock judges. Jameseen was a talented singer and managed the household chores of feeding and housing hired men with the help of a hired girl. It was from this background that Isabella learned good management skills and soon found her interests centered in Home Economics.

Isabella attended school in Earlham graduated in 1923. She then entered Iowa State College now Iowa State University. She was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and participated in a variety of college activities. On June 13, 1927 she received her B.S. degree in Home Economics Education and taught one year at DeSoto High School. The next year she married Robert Wilson Godby on June 18th. Robert was also a graduate of Iowa State College in 1923 with a major in Animal Husbandry. They made their home on the Godby family farm at Earlham. During the depression Robert went to work for Bankers Life now called Principal. They moved to Colfax and stayed for a few years. In the spring of 1937 they purchased a farm that had been owned by Robert’s uncle and is now a century farm. This meant returning back to Earlham. Tragedy struck in the fall on 1947 when Robert was killed in a car-train accident on the Rock Island Railroad that ran through the family farm. This necessitated Isabella to return to school to renew her certificate. She returned to teaching at DeSoto and later at Earlham where she retired. With the help of hired hands and advice from her father and uncle she kept the family farm together until her son returned from the service during WWII. Home Economics over the years has changed its name to Family and Consumer Science. It is a very broad area as was in her teaching days. Her classes included Foods Clothing Family Relationships Child Care Money Management Art and Housing. Important values of beauty time management content skills techniques and completion of tasks were stressed.

She encouraged each student to contribute their best abilities and talents to society and especially to those that follow them. True to all good teachers Isabella influenced and expanded the horizons of those she knew and taught. Her extra efforts in doing her job well meant many extra hours but with the satisfaction of knowing she had cared for her students and parents.

With all the struggles of life hard work in happiness and sorrow and later health problems you always sensed her fierce determination to keep on going and keeping busy. Isabella died February 18, 1993 at the age of 87. We honor her in this Plaza of Heroines.