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Allen Cortez Gooden, Jr.

Allen Gooden

                         Name: Allen Cortez Gooden, Jr.

                         Branch of Service: U.S. Army Air Forces

                         Unit: 1873rd Combat Engineers

                         Rank: Staff Sergeant

                         Dates of Service: 1942-1946

                         Theater of Service: Asiatic-Pacific

                         Allen Gooden's Story


BUCKINGHAM, VA - Allen Cortez Gooden Jr. was born in Birmingham, Alabama on September 19, 1914.  He was one of seven children born to Allen Gooden, Sr. and Jenny L. (Jones) Gooden.  He was educated in private and public schools in Birmingham and graduated from Industrial High School.  Mr. Gooden attended Alabama State Teachers' College (now Alabama State University) in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated in 1937.  Mr. Gooden began his career as a teacher in Birmingham, Ala., his hometown.  Later, he earned a Master's degree in Education Administration from Virginia State College in 1965 and pursued additional graduate studies at the University of Arizona, Pennsylvania State University, University of Virginia and Columbia University.

Mr. Gooden honorably served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.  During his four-year tour of service, he was stationed in Georgia, Missouri, Virginia, Florida, and Arizona.  He was deployed with the 1873rd Company of the 5th Army Air Corps.  He served as a combat engineer in New Guinea and Okinawa, Japan, and was honorably discharged from the Army in January 1946.

Mr. Gooden met Christine Shelton of Buckingham County on a blind date while he was stationed at then Camp Lee, VA, during World War II.  He had not met her parents when they married in Tampa, Fla., in 1944, before he left for Army combat duty in the Pacific.  Discharged in 1946, he made a two-day trip to Buckingham to finally meet his in-laws.

Two days stretched into 66 years.  After coming to Buckingham, he served as a history teacher and baseball coach at Buckingham Training School, principal and teacher at Ridgeway Elementary School, principal of both locations of Stephen J. Ellis Elementary School and principal of Dillwyn Elementary School, as well as eight years on the Buckingham County School Board.  He worked his cattle farm and served as a teacher, coach, principal, school board member and community leader before he died on June 30 at age 97 at a son's home in Richmond, VA.

Mr. Gooden passed away on 30 June 2012 at a son's home in Richmond, VA; he was 97 years old.  A funeral will held today, July 7, 2012, at 11 a.m. at Buckingham Middle School, 1184 High School Road in Buckingham.  Burial with military honors will be in Union Grove Baptist Church cemetery in Buckingham.

Mr. Gooden's wife died in 2001.  His survivors include four sons, Basil Ivanhoe Gooden of Richmond, VA, Rodney Alonzo Gooden of Rochester Hills, MI, Allen Cortez Gooden III of Richmond, and Orestes Devino Gooden of Elizabeth City, N.C.; three daughters, Joyce Ann Gooden and Jacqueline Audrey Seay, both of Richmond, VA, and Jennifer Yvette Joyner of Baltimore, MD; and 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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