William (Billy) Ray Goins, a 1971 Rushville Consolidated High School graduate, passed away unexpectedly Saturday at his Rushville residence.
For many years, Goins has been known throughout the state and elsewhere for numerous community service efforts. Locally, one of the most notable was his and others desire to renovate, maintain and preserve the Booker T. Washington School. The school and now community center located on East Seventh Street was built in 1904 and until 1932 served as Rushville’s African-American School for grades one through eight.
Through a concerted effort by civic and community minded individuals and businesses, in 1988 the building was renovated and has since been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Following its rejuvenation, Goins and others sponsored a golf outing to make additional improvements and renovations to the building.
“He had a vison not only for that building, but people in general. He was a remarkable man. He wanted and strived to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Just like the Booker T. School project, he always seemed to pull for the underdog and then watch them succeed,” longtime friend John Byrne.
Shortly after graduation from RCHS, Goins entered the U.S. Army. Following a two-year stint, he returned to his hometown and began working at the Ford Visteon plant in Connersville in 1975. His employment lasted until the factory closed 32 years later in 2007. During his time there, Billy Ray held numerous positions: Union VP, Steward and plant trustee. One of the aspects he was most proud of during his years there was when the plant closed he and others fought for and won a large sum ($42 million) of government funding to retrain then Visteon employees for other jobs as a means for those individuals to re-entered the workforce in other job capacities.
Goins was very active in the NAACP and served as vice-president of the Hoosier NAACP chapter for a number of years.
In 1995, Goins became a member on the Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees, a position he held for 12 years until 2007. During his time on the Ivy Tech Board, he served as Chairman of the Board for three years; additionally, he served on the Ivy Tech Foundation Board.
Goins worked with local politics as a member of the Rushville City Council and he sat on the board for the Boys & Girls Club of Rush County as a means to help and assist the development of Rush County youth.
“I had the pleasure of serving with Bill and I knew then Billy Ray was a very impactful person. He had an impact on many visual things as well, such as city council and Ivy Tech, but even more important was the impact he had on people and their lives. I think that will be one of the things I, myself and others will remember and miss the most. He was always looking to strike up a conversation,” Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey.
For numerous years, Billy Ray had put himself in a position to help others and impact their lives all the while promoting the town he called home.
Visitation will be held Sunday at the RCHS Memorial Gymnasium, 1201 Lions Path, from 11 a.m. until the time of service at 2 p.m.