Alexis Gerard Henri Godschalk, 39, of Los Angeles, CA passed away suddenly on April 21, 2014.
He was preceded in death by his parents: beloved mother Bibiana Van Oosterhout Godschalk and father Hank Godschalk and infant brother Rudolf.
He is survived by wife Fiona Godschalk van Rijn, sons Stephen Gabriel Henry Godschalk and Gerard Louis Emmanuel Godschalk and daughter Lana Emma Vivianne Godschalk; younger sister Saskia Godschalk of Gouda, The Netherlands and younger brother Marnix Godschalk of Valkensswaard, The Netherlands.
Alexis was born in South Africa on August 9, 1974 and is where he grew up until the age of twelve. His parents were foster parents and ran a boys’ home for over 2 years and at one point he had 18 “brothers” living with him in addition to his younger brother and sister. His parents were church leaders and always kept the family involved in the community. Alexis’ mom kept him busy with competitive highland dancing, knitting and crafts, and many, many shows, plays and musicals.
At age 12 his family relocated to The Netherlands where he became a Sea Cadet (which is like Boy Scouts on the ocean).
Over the course of his life Alexis immigrated 5 times and lived in 25 different homes. He enjoyed this, and knew that God would have a new adventure for him anywhere and everywhere he went.
The greatest adventure of Alexis’ life began when he gave his life to Christ and was baptized at the age of thirteen. While he self-admitted that he was a bit of a “Jesus Freak” in his adolescence, throughout the ups and downs of his life Alexis knew who loved and cared for him: His heavenly father.
God’s love and care for Alexis was never more evident than when he met his best friend, lover, soul mate, and the mother of his children in May of 1999. He met Fiona in London at a church retreat aptly called, “The Time of Our Life.” The day that she met him Fiona knew that he was going to marry her. She didn’t know his name or where he was from, but she knew that was the man God had for her. They were engaged on Dec. 4, 1999 in Brussels. Everyone that knew them said, “It’s about time” even though they’d only known each other seven months. What followed was a whirlwind wedding in Brussels on Sept. 16, 2000 and 4 days later immigration to the United States, the place that became their true home. They landed in Atlanta, GA where for seven years they were part of leading the Impact young adult ministry with Lee Mason (through Church of the Apostles). They were one of three couples in an initial group of 60+ single people that has now transformed into 20+ marriages and resulted in many, many children. After a year in Georgia they started a wedding photography business, and soon Stephen - Alexis’ “boy” - was on the way, and Alexis finally had his wife barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen (she loved it!). While at Buckhead Church they met their future neighbors Michael and Amy Johnston who convinced them to move to the empty house next door in the seedy Capital View neighborhood. There they started a community neighborhood coffee shop called Capital Brew, and so the love of coffee continued in Alexis’ life.
In 2006 Gerard – Papa’s “Ger-Ger” and “monkey” - was on the way! And with the arrival of their second boy more change was on the horizon. Alexis was offered a position at Street Fire, a car enthusiast video website based out of Los Angeles and they packed up their boys, aged 2.5 and 6 months, and drove the family west. He spent two years at Street Fire, then was self-employed for a short time, then spent two years as a Senior Producer at Sony, then was self-employed and recently collaborated on Stage 141 with friend Marshall Lee. (stage141.com)
Fiona plugged the family in to Westchester Parents’ Nursery School (WPNS) a few weeks after they arrived in Los Angeles when their oldest - Stephen - was enrolled in preschool. It very quickly became the Godschalks’ village and in six years it has brought them a huge community which they call their “village” and they love knowing that their entire family can depend on this village. Alexis loved knowing that Fiona was deeply involved in the years they spent there. This community has made them laugh, cry, and grow and taught Alexis and Fiona how to thoroughly enjoy being parents.
A year later Lana was on the way, and their family was complete with her birth in 2009. She was the apple of her daddy’s eye, his “baby girl” and his “toutie.”
The family soon plugged in at Bel Air Presbyterian Church and for 2.5 years Alexis and Fiona led the “Growing Families” ministry. This ministry was especially dear to his heart because it allowed him to promote something he was really passionate about: leading people into healthy, Godly marriage. Through Bel Air Pres. they helped grow a church plant called Water’s Edge Church with dear friends Vonda and Dave McNeil.
A new season brought Alexis and Fiona to what they call “The Huddle Church” … Westchester Church of the Nazarene. Right across the street from their beloved preschool, they discovered the missing piece of their family. A rainbow of God’s creation, people who were all so different and yet straining toward the same goal: To grow and be who God wanted them to be. Alexis loved knowing that he could share a word or a crazy idea and that it was received. It was a place he felt valued and a place where he could use his gifts. He became a brother and a father figure to so many there, many of whom the family came to know through their much-loved Thursday night church meetings at the Huddle’s house.
Alexis had many hobbies, but photography was his favorite. He loved to shoot automobiles, stylized portraits, and turning random things into art with the lens. He had an incredible eye for detail and a knack for finding beauty in the most ordinary and strange places.
He also loved luxury automobiles: his dream car was a grey Tesla Model S with all the bells and whistles. He was a trusted driver and highly respected in the automobile collecting and racing communities.
And let’s not forget coffee! He was well-known for the “Lex-presso” and his everyday latte art. Honorable mention goes to his famous adult beverage: the Lexi-tini.
He was most passionate about modeling an awesome marriage. The one thing Alexis and Fiona knew they always had was their marriage. They didn’t have a lot of money, they didn’t have their families nearby, but they had their marriage. They were always really careful and protective of this union, which is why it worked so well.
Alexis loved how different his kids’ personalities were, he loved to “show off” for them and be goofy with them. He loved teaching them an “attitude of gratitude” and teaching them how to be adventurous. He modeled for them how to trust and lean completely on God. As a kid he lived his life through magazines and clippings, and he wanted his kids to see, touch and ride in his dream cars, meet celebrities, and experience things like the X-Games. It was rewarding for him as a father to know that he could do that for them.
Alexis will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Fiona asks that you hug her all the time and be adventurous in front of their kids.