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Fort Myers WWII veteran dies of COVID-19

A simple recruiting sign inspired Carl Godert to join the Merchant Marine at just 18 years old.

He would survive the long war and live 97 resilient years. But on May 4, he died of COVID-19.

Through it all, Godert had two dreams: making it to 100 and going on an Honor Flight.

It was a trip he was looking forward to taking, but the coronavirus caused it to be canceled. Then, the virus took Godert.

His daughter, Pam Roviere, said he wouldn’t be upset; he would just say “it’s God’s will.”

Godert was a charmer – and a lover of the United States.

“We live in a great country – the United States of America. Get down on your knees, everybody, and thank the Lord that you’re here,” he said in a November 2019 interview with WINK News.

His legacy of love for God, country, and family will be impossible for his daughter to forget.

“He said, ‘I want to go home to be with your mother. I’m ready to go,'” Roviere said.

Godert faced death more times than he wanted to talk about, enlisting in the Merchant Marine in time to fight in WWII.

“When you’re 17 and 18, you don’t have fear,” he said.

Even though he was a part of one of the world’s worst wars in history, he “never had problems sleeping,” his daughter said, adding that her father said he was “always at peace, I knew God was in charge.”

Godert made it home and lived alongside his beloved Gloria for 50 years. They raised a family and found joy in them.

He also found the resolve to keep living life to its fullest when Gloria died last year.

“He had me teach him how to use the dishwasher, the washing machine … this man was 96 and lost his helpmate of a lifetime,” Roviere said.

She became her father’s new helpmate, and together, they faced COVID-19.

“I think he heard us but he didn’t want to believe that.”

The illness hit Godert hard. Alone in a big, cold hospital, he found ways to uplift the very nurses watching him die.

“She said, “Oh, he’s singing to us…,” Roviere recalled a nurse saying.

The virus eventually took his ability to sing and to speak. In a single phone call, the daughter of an American hero said goodbye to her dad.

“Thank you, Carl, for your example of positivity, of calmness, of lack of fear, your faith in God. You left us big shoes to fill; we’ll always be trying to fill ’em.”

The family is still planning a service for Godert. Eventually, he’ll be laid to rest next to Gloria in upstate New York.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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