When people gathered for church, Arthur Goebel was the one who went from child to child.
He would place his hand on their heads and say, “God bless you really good.”
On Sunday, Goebel became a homicide victim.
At church, he gave out rewards, maybe a quarter or a high-five.
“He would come to church with candy in his pockets … so the kids were drawn to him,” said Dena Hudson, a pastor with Living Word Outreach.
Goebel would seek out the shy kids and encourage children who might be having trouble in school. He told them it mattered not how well they did but how much they tried, Hudson said. Until the past couple years, Goebel had been an elder and member of the congregation for more than 20 years.
But Hudson’s husband, Matthew, and Goebel still maintained contact through a ministry, Bread of Life. He helped provide food for people who need it. Goebel told Hudson’s husband at a food ministry effort a week ago, “I’ll see you next week.”
The 66-year-old died early Sunday after a man forced his way into Goebel’s home in the 2300 block of East MacArthur, police said. When Goebel confronted the intruder, the gunman shot him, and his 62-year-old wife called 911. Police have asked for the public’s help in solving the crime.
“It’s a shock,” Hudson said.
Goebel had been married for 43 years. His wife said they met when he was stationed in Thailand while in the Air Force. What she liked about him from the beginning, she said Tuesday, is that “he’s the man that never lies. … He will keep his word.” He believed in keeping his integrity and helping his family, she said. Because the gunman has not been caught, she asked not to be named.
The couple raised five children, including a daughter, K.S. Goebel, who is a Wichita police officer. Goebel and his family lived in Wichita for more than 20 years. He was a Vietnam veteran and an Air Force master sergeant and retired after working as a dietary manager at a nursing home, his family said. He was born and raised in Nebraska and will be buried there next to his parents.
Goebel was a huge Huskers fan, who went to some effort to get a Huskers outfit for a newborn grandchild. His family expects to see a lot of Huskers red at his funeral.
“He was definitely a family man, but he was a private man as well,” Hudson said.
“Even to have a story about him, he would be shocked, because he was so private.”