A pioneer in the religious and business communities, the Rev. Catherine I. Godboldte died on Sunday, June 7, 2020, after a brief illness.
Godboldte died peacefully at home, according to her daughter, Andrea-Jyl Godboldte. She was 86.
Godboldte was senior associate pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Roslyn and CEO and founder of the African American Heritage Foundation. She also hosted the gospel music program “Spiritual Treasures” on WHAT and later WURD radio stations.
“Rev. Godboldte was a unique and needed voice for women, culture, and creativity in the church,” the Rev. Marshall Mitchell, pastor of Salem Baptist Church, said in a written statement. “Her unbridled energy, insightful mind, poignant words and loving touch were hallmarks at Salem and the wider community of faith. This is an inestimable loss for all of us.”
Godboldte, a Philadelphia native, graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Joseph’s University, a master’s in religion from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary), and a doctorate in religion and African-American studies from Temple University.
Ordained to the ministry in 1985, Godboldte served as director of the School of Christian Ministry and director of continuing education at Palmer Theological Seminary. She was the founder of Bridges to the Community, a faith-based recovery program for women and children.
She served as the recording secretary and later as controller of the Progressive National Baptist Convention. She was the first woman to hold office in a national Black Baptist convention.
Her secular work included serving as director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Minority Business Enterprise; director of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare State Grants Administration; and vice chairwoman of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission.
Godboldte was the first female agent with the Main Line Agency of the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company and president of the AaCronn Financial Planning Corporation.
Godboldte combined her two paths into one when she operated the Center for Church Business Management, offering management and technical consulting services for churches in the area.
She authored several books, including “Soon I Will Be Done,” a guide to ceremonies in the African-American funeral tradition.
Godboldte is survived by two sisters, two daughters, two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A public viewing will be held from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, June 19, at Salem Baptist Church, 2741 Woodland Road, Abington. A private burial will follow.
A public memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.