Lost Password

Yale menu

Daily News

Godfrey Christopher Benson Caldwell

Died: March 31, 1966

Godfrey Christopher Benson Caldwell was “our” Englishman. He came to Yale from Harrow School, son of Stanley Benson and Ruth Weston Caldwell. At Yale, GCBC, as he was known to friends, majored in engineering and applied science, and made the Dean’s list several times, resulting in election to Tau Beta Pi. He was also active in Yale Management activities, belonged to St. Anthony Hall, and rowed for Saybrook.

He is best remembered, however, for his puckish sense of humor and golden baritone voice, both of which he shared with good effect in the Freshman Glee Club, the Yale Glee Club, and the Duke’s Men. He also had a serious side, and loved spending time browsing the collection in Sterling Library.

Spring break senior year, Godfrey was traveling the American Northwest. His death in an automobile accident in Idaho, March 31, 1966, came as a great shock to family and friends, and cut short what must otherwise have been a brilliant life and career. He is buried in the family plot of roommate and fellow St. A’s member J.B. Knowles.

Bingham Kennedy remembers:
We often called him GCBC. Though some current listings leave out part of his name, as I recall he was Godfrey Christopher Benson Caldwell III. A mouthful, and a perfect fit for the English public school choirboy I first met freshman year, when we both joined the Duke’s Men.

What I remember most clearly about him is the perpetual twinkle in his eye, his willingness — if not eagerness — to pursue almost any suggestion that might be entertaining, interesting, or just plain fun. His enthusiasm was infectious.

I also recall him, wearing a nicely tailored English tweed jacket in the Saybrook courtyard, passing an American football in the style of an English rugby ball. Or other occasions, when we had to decide which frivolous activity to pursue on our Duke’s Men spring tour. And always the twinkle in his eye, a ready grin and a willingness to “go for it.”

On the final day of our spring break senior year, I walked into my room in Saybrook to find a cryptic note from my roommate, telling me GCBC had died. I was stunned. It was hard to believe that, just as we were all looking ahead to the next stage in our lives, someone so full of life would no longer be with us. The passage of 50 years has tempered the immediacy of that feeling, but as I cast my mind back on that moment, I still feel a deep sense of loss.

Robert Pratter remembers:
Toby Kennedy has written a moving remembrance of Godfrey. Godfrey’s death in the Spring of 1966 was shocking and hard to fathom as we were all so young, and Death seemed impossible for us. In our sophomore year, I had occasion to spend a few hours in deep conversation with Godfrey and Tim Riggs, class of 1964, on the secret tower side of St. Anthony Hall. They both listened intently and showed what good friendship means. Godfrey and Tim both experienced short lives, but I carry the memory of that time with them with great affection and gratitude. May God bless them both.