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In Respectful Memory

Brandon Goddard
Brazoswood HS Band Member
Brazoswood Fine Arts

Brandon Goddard was a junior trumpet player, AP student, UM Army worker and a strong Christian Brandon was loved by all; because, even though he had diabetes, he never quit. He was the kid who made everyone laugh, ran with enthusiam to his Band practice spot every day after school in the heat, showed the importance of working hard and being the "WE-US" person and not the "I-ME" person. He will be deeply missed and the students in the band are helping each other "heal".

If you want to sign a "card/guestbook" you can do that at

For three days, friends of Brandon Goddard have met to comfort each other and share stories of the young man they said was a servant at heart and always the first to try something new.

The 17-year-old, who had just begun his junior year at Brazoswood High School, died Saturday from an unknown virus.

“We are trying to make sense of it, and it doesn’t make sense,” said Brandon’s father, Bennie Goddard. “It doesn’t seem real.”

Brandon became sick Thursday night after school and was taken to the Brazosport Regional Health System emergency room Friday when his condition worsened, said the boy’s grandfather, David Barkemeyer. He then was taken by helicopter to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where died Saturday.

Brandon also is survived by his mother, Robin Goddard, and his older sister, Ashley.

Bennie Goddard said Brandon had been a Type I diabetic for 13 years, but that was not the cause of his death.

“It was a bacteria or a virus that entered his body, and they don’t have any idea how,” Barkemeyer said.

Brandon’s death might remain a mystery because there will not be an autopsy, Barkemeyer said.

“You just don’t expect anything like this,” Bennie Goddard said. “To have him do so well with the diabetes for 13 years, and to have something else come along and take him so quickly, it’s just unimaginable, and it’s really hard.”

A faint buzz of a pager vibrating on the Goddards’ kitchen table relays a message to the grieving family that their son is missed. A prayer buzzer alerts the family each time a phone number is called to send a numerical message of sympathy.

The buzzing hadn’t stopped Monday, Barkemeyer said.

“There are signals of concern coming in from every direction,” Barkemeyer said. “There has been a steady stream of friends coming to the home to express their love. Literally hundreds of people have come by here.”

Though he knew his grandson had a charismatic personality, Barkemeyer said, he is amazed at the influence Brandon had on his community.

“He was an impromptu kid,” Barkemeyer said. “He was so talented. He could sit down at the piano and play a tune without any lessons.”

Music might have floated on the air the day Brandon was born. The boy was instilled with an unusual musical ability to play by ear and always with his heart, friends said. On Sunday, friends and family convened at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Lake Jackson for a night of music and memorial.

The band, made up of his four best friends, played on in Brandon’s spirit.

“We played the happy song,” drummer Shayna Smades said. The happy song fits Brandon’s upbeat personality, she said.

During the last song of the performance, Smades looked over at keyboard player and singer Briana Dunn, guitarist and singer Nick Lipscomb and guitarist Trevor Williams and realized things were going to be different.

“He had a real close-knit group of friends,” Bennie Goddard said. All four of the teenagers grew up alongside and played in the school band with Brandon.

“The last song was about praising God,” Smades said. “When the drum comes in, it gets you. Sunday night everyone had candles. It was very emotional.”

The four friends finished each other’s sentences as they remembered their friend’s last days.

“This has made us realize that life is fragile,” Lipscomb said.

They all visited Brandon in the hospital with their families on the day he died.

“On the way home, it was all silence and staring out the window,” Williams said.

Williams will march onto the Brazoswood High School football field this season in his best friend’s position. He will honor his friend by filling his sport, but not his shoes, he said.

“Instead of someone just replacing him, they wanted the closest friend to do it,” Williams said. “The past two times they’ve said something about it to me I’ve cried. I’m sure he will appreciate it.”


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Brandon’s name to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or (800) 533-2983, or the Luther B. Travis Diabetes Research Fund, UTMB, Galveston, TX 77555.

By Bridget Brown
The Facts
Published August 15, 2006