WHITEWRIGHT, TX-We begin our new series Wednesday, People of Texoma, with a Whitewright man who took part in some major historical events. He served 20 years of his life in the military and another 30 years as one of Grayson County's longest serving Mayors. But his story doesn't end there.
In his own words, Whitewright Mayor Bill Goodson describes himself as a "jack of all trades and master of none." He's worn several hats in his 84 years as an Army major, professional baseball player and a politician.
"It has been a journey through all these years," he said.
But Goodson didn't get his start in Whitewright. He grew up in Dallas and attended Booker T. Washington High School where he played baseball with hall of famer, Ernie Banks.
"It was just like playing a sandlot game, you didn't know they're gonna be as famous as they are," he said.
Both men pursued their love of baseball in the professional level by playing for the Atlanta Black Crackers. Goodson was a pitcher and Banks was power shortstop, both got nods from the Chicago Cubs.
But Goodson said his life took a different turn when he was called to serve in the Army.
"Ernie was supposed to go into the Army the same time with me when I got my papers, but they turned him down for bad knees. Then 14 years later he's been playing with the Cubs," he said.
Goodson was sent out to Korea in 1950 then to Vietnam.
"I would have in my hut Hershey's bars stacked to the ceiling and Beanie Weenie cans stacked up and that's all I ate," he said.
After 20 years in the line of fire, Goodson faced hardships in the war zone which continued to haunt him at home.
"It's hard to explain how it's like to be scared and not scared because after a while, you've become numb," he said.
That's why he retired as an Army Sergeant Major in 1968 and returned stateside into San Francisco, where he ran a business for 20 years.
Itching to go back to Texas, Goodson moved to Whitewright 1982. Little did he know, his political career was about to start when a resident asked him if he'd run for Mayor.
"My next question was, 'was there a black person that ever held office here in Whitewright?' She said 'no' so I said 'you just answered my question. I'll probably just get 3 votes, and that's my wife's vote, my vote and my daughter's vote,'" he laughed.
But almost 30 years later, Goodson remains in the mayoral seat.
"Today I look back at it and it's the best thing I've ever did," he said.
Goodson recently conquered colon cancer in July after a year-long fight while still in office. He said not even that would keep him from serving his beloved city.
"I believe that the good Lord said that He's not finished with me in this city and He has things for me to do and I'll be doing them. I love this city, I love the people here."