Dr. Billy Starr Goforth, age 87, of Bristol, went to be with the Lord on Friday, July 5, 2019 at Oakmont at Gordon Park Assisted Living Facility in Bristol, Virginia after a long illness.
He was born September 29, 1931 in Banner Elk, NC, a son of the late Benjamin Starr and Estelle Marguerite Cooke Goforth. He is a graduate of Bob Jones University (Bachelor of Arts), Columbia Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity), and Vanderbilt University (Doctor of Ministry). Dr. Goforth was a U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean War and a U.S. Army Veteran of the Vietnam War. During his 20-year military career, he served as Command and Unit Chaplain at Fort Polk, Louisiana; Ft. Rucker, Alabama; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Heilbronn, Germany; and Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Dr. Goforth was former pastor of Princeton Presbyterian Church (Johnson City), Assistant Pastor of First Presbyterian Church (Johnson City), Pastor of Fairmount Presbyterian Church (Bristol), Pastor of Valley Pike Presbyterian Church (Bristol), and Interim Pastor of Magill Memorial Presbyterian Church (Roan Mountain, Tennessee). Dr. Goforth was the President of the Kiwanis Club of Bristol, and an active member of the Mountain Empire Retired Officers Association, Greater Bristol Ministerial Association, Banner Elk Historical Society and the Pastoral Counseling Institute of Tri-Cities. Bill loved Jesus and sought to bring as many people as possible to know Him as their personal Savior as a U.S. Army chaplain and pastor as well as through his ministry as the owner of the Gospel Book Store on West State Street and the WHCB radio ministry in Bristol, Tennessee. He talked often of his love for the youth ministry, community evangelism, Vacation Bible School, Christmas and Easter programs, international mission work, civic support organizations, and the importance of personal Bible study.
In addition to his parents, Dr. Goforth was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Dr. Juanita Offield Goforth, and by his brother, Robert “Bobby” Goforth. He is survived by his son Dr. Gary Alan Goforth and his wife Kathy, who reside in Fort Myers, Florida; his son William Thomas Goforth and his wife Amy, who reside in San Antonio, Texas; grandsons Jonathan Goforth and his wife Amy, Michael Goforth and his wife Crystal, and grandson Joshua Goforth; granddaughters Dr. Sarah Goforth and Ashley Goforth; great grandchildren Christina, Emma, Paul, and Charlie; and sister Helen Greene who resides in Indiana.
The funeral service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019 at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church with Dr. Doug LaPointe officiating. The family will receive friends from 4 until 6 p.m. prior to the service. Visitation will also be held on Monday, July 8, 2019 at Weaver Funeral Home from11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The entombment and committal service will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 8, 2019 at Glenwood Mausoleum Chapel. Military Honors will be conducted by the Bristol VFW Honor Guard. Honorary pallbearers will be John Tickle and Steve Bjur. Pallbearers will be David Abulhusson, Danny Salyer, Tim Buchanan, Joshua Goforth, Michael Goforth, Jonathan Goforth, Mike Osborne, Sammy Carrier, and David Richards.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Volunteers in Medical Missions, an interdenominational Christian ministry dedicated to the physical and spiritual healing of the less fortunate throughout the world, at 265 South Cove Road, Seneca, SC 29672 and/or The Gospel Book Store, 2112 Euclid Avenue, Bristol, VA 24201.
Online condolences may be registered at www.weaverfuneralhome.net. Arrangements have been made with Weaver Funeral Home and Cremation Services.