Family and friends to pay tribute to Robert Godwin, Sr. Saturday

EUCLID, Ohio -- The family of Robert Godwin Sr. will be saying their final goodbyes to a man they say was kind, gentle, and taught them the importance of forgiveness.

"He didn't deserve this, he was such a wonderful, caring person," said Tonya R. Godwin- Baines, one of Godwin's 10 children.  "But he always taught us about God. He taught us we have to forgive . So we forgive Mr. Stephens. "

Godwin was shot to death Sunday after an Easter celebration while walking on East 93rd Street in Cleveland. Steve Stephens, 37, was the alleged shooter, and posted video of the killing on Facebook. After a multi-state manhunt, Stephens killed himself in Erie, Pa., Tuesday.

Godwin's funeral service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. Saturday at River of Life Ministries on Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid.

The service is open to the public.

Family members say they are extremely grateful for all the support they received from the community.

Godwin's family wants their father to be remembered for the good he did in his life, not for the horrific video. They are asking people to please not share the video.

"My father loved to fish, he taught me to fish and he taught me so much ," said Robert Godwin Jr.   "I want people to remember him like I do."

River of Life Ministries pastor Tony Williams said he has heard from people from from as far as Atlanta who are planning to attend the funeral, even though they do not know the family.

Northeast Ohioans who did not know the family also said they planned to attend.

"I'm so heartbroken. It was one of those acts that should not have happened," said Janet King, of Cleveland, who stopped by the memorial where Godwin was killed on East 93rd Street to pay respects. "I just want to come support the family. He has a wonderful family, and they're so forgiving of the person who did this terrible thing."

Williams said the church can hold about 1,200 people and an overflow room will carry a live stream of the service. He said speakers will also be set up on the church lawn.

"I anticipate a huge crowd here," Williams said. "It's going to be tight, but we're going to do our best to make it work."

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