Jasper Goodwill

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Jasper Goodwill​

In office
July 19, 1955​ – 1958​
Preceded by John T. David
Succeeded by Frank T. Norman

Born November 18, 1889​
Minden, Louisiana
Died November 10, 1974 (aged 84)​
Minden, Louisiana​
Resting place Minden Cemetery​
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Annie Eldredge Goodwill​
Relations Murphy James Foster, Jr. (cousin)

Captain Alfred Goodwill (grandfather)​

Children Marion Jasper "Buddy" Goodwill

Gloria Goodwill
​ Robert Eldredge Goodwill​

Alma mater Minden High School
Occupation Businessman
Religion United Methodist

Jasper Goodwill (November 18, 1889 – November 10, 1974)[1] served from 1955 to 1958 as the Democratic mayor of the small city of Minden in Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana.

Goodwill is considered a transitional mayor between the longer tenures of John T. David and Frank T. Norman. He worked to implement health insurance and a pension plan for municipal employees.[2]


Goodwill's paternal grandfather, Captain Alfred Goodwill, a native of London, England, joined the Army of the Confederate States of America. He lived first in Claiborne Parish, from which Webster Parish was created in 1871. After the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Ford Farley (1834-1869), Captain Goodwill moved in 1873 to Minden with his five children, including Mayor Jasper Goodwill's father, Alfred Jasper Goodwill, and Captain Goodwill's second wife, the former Ida Victoria Hill (1838-1937). Captain Goodwill in 1880 opened an 18,000-square foot general store in Minden, a "superstore" believed at the time to be the largest such enterprise in the state. One could even purchase a casket and embalming fluid from Goodwill's. Goodwill Street in Minden, which connects the Minden Cemetery with the Webster Parish Fairgrounds, is named for Captain Goodwill, as is the Goodwill Road near the former Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant in western Webster Parish.[3][4] Jasper Goodwill was the second of seven children born in Minden to Alfred Jasper Goodwill (1855–1937)[5] and the former Sallie Fort (1859–1934).[6]

Captain Goodwill and his second wife, Ida, had four children. A daughter, Olive Goodwill (born c. 1875), married Robert Roberts, Jr., the mayor of, first, Farmerville in Union Parish and then Minden (1905-1906), a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for Webster Parish, an appeal court judge in Shreveport, and a state district judge in Minden, and, finally, an attorney in private practice in Shreveport. Their daughter, Olive Roberts (1904-1990),[7] married Murphy J. Foster, a sugar planter in St. Mary Parish and a son of Governor Murphy James Foster, Sr. The second Olive Roberts was hence the mother of former Governor Murphy J. Foster, Jr.; born in 1930, he left the governorship after two terms in 2004. Captain Goodwill was hence the maternal great-grandfather of the second Governor Foster; Alfred Jasper Goodwill, the great-uncle, and Jasper Goodwill, a cousin.[3]


Jasper Goodwill graduated from Minden High School. When he entered the United States Army during World War I, he, like his grandfather, had no middle name. The Army required at least a middle initial if no middle name, and he was hence assigned a "K", which stood otherwise for nothing. He remained in the United States throughout the war.[8] An older brother, Christopher Goodwill (1867-1901), was shot to death while making an arrest. Ralph Goodwill, another brother, was the co-owner of a clothing store in Minden known as Brown-Goodwill,[3] which closed in 1987.[9]

After he left the military, Goodwill was until 1923 the assistant postmaster in Minden prior to joining Empire Southern Gas Company, of which he became the vice president and division manager. He retired as the company in 1954.[10] He and his younger surviving son, Robert Eldredge "Tuby" Goodwill (born June 21, 1928), started a hardware and sporting goods store on Broadway Street in 1952.[11] The business closed in 1978.​

Goodwill prevailed in a special election on May 10, 1955, to fill the remaining three years in the term of John T. David, who resigned amid a bootlegging scandal after nine years in office. Goodwill defeated Paul Wallace (1896–1969), a furniture store operator and a former member of the Minden City Council, 944 (52.4 percent) to 858 (47.6 percent).[11]

David had also narrowly defeated Wallace in the regular Democratic primary in 1954.[12] Though he succeeded with the health insurance and pension plan for city employees, Goodwill did not seek a full term in the 1958 primary, which brought Democrat Frank T. Norman, a sitting council member, to the mayor's chair for the first of two four-year terms.[2]

Goodwill was a president of the Minden Chamber of Commerce (1943–1944), a director of the Minden Building and Loan Association,[13] a past director of the former Minden Bank and Trust Company (since part of Regions Bank,[12] and a member of both the civil defense and Selective Service boards. He was affiliated with Lions International, the National Wildlife Association, the American Legion, the Knights of Pythias, and he served on the board of the First United Methodist Church of Minden.[13]

Family and death

Goodwill was married to the former Annie Eldredge (July 2, 1889 – June 18, 1959),[14] a medical secretary originally from Abbeville in Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana. The couple resided at 201 North College Street in Minden. The Goodwills had an older son, Marion Jasper "Buddy" Goodwill (January 2, 1925 – July 20, 2014), a 34-year employee of United Gas Pipeline Company who resided in Shreveport.[15] Daughter Gloria Ann died as an infant in 1926. The Goodwills had four grandchildren. Goodwill was also survived by a sister, Alice Turnley (1901–1991) of Plain Dealing in northern Bossier Parish.​

Goodwill died in Minden eight days prior to his 85th birthday. Services were held in the Rose-Neath Funeral Home Chapel; interment was at the Minden Cemetery, along with other family members.[13][16]


  1. Dates from tombstone in Minden Cemetery
  2. 2.0 2.1 John Agan. Jasper Goodwill. findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 9, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John A. Agan, "Captain Alfred Goodwill's Descendant (Mike Foster) Makes News", Minden Press-Herald, November 3, 1995.
  4. Capt. Alfred Goodwill. findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 9, 2015.
  5. John Agan, "The Legacy of Captain Alfred Goodwill," North Louisiana History, Vol. 27, Nos. 2-3 (Spring-Summer 1996), pp. 103-109.
  6. Funeral Services for A. J. Goodwill Held Here Thursday: Member of Pioneer Family Dies Wednesday of Heart Attack. The Minden Democrat (March 12, 1937). Retrieved on March 9, 2015.
  7. Henry E. Chambers, "Robert Roberts, Jr.", A History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City, American Historical Society, Inc., 1925), pp. 21-22.
  8. Statement of Robert Eldredge Goodwill of Minden, Louisiana, October 6, 2008.
  9. 'Minden Press-Herald, March 3, 1987, p. 10.
  10. "Jasper Goodwill to Reire Dec. 1", Minden Herald, September 10, 1954, p. 1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Minden Herald, May 12, 1955, p. 1.
  12. 12.0 12.1 John Agan (2002). Minden: Perseverance and Pride. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing Company, 113, 133. ISBN 9781439630532. Retrieved on March 7, 2015. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Ex-Minden Mayor Dies at Age 84", The Shreveport Times, November 11, 1974, p. 10-A.
  14. Minden Herald, June 18, 1959.
  15. Marion Goodwill. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on July 22, 2014.
  16. "Former Mayor Jasper Goodwill Dies at Age 84," Minden Press-Herald, November 11, 1974, p. 1.