Alfred Paul Ray Gooding, 89, of Topeka, KS passed away Friday, June 19, 2020, following a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“Al” was born on July 29, 1930 in Canton, KS, the son of Paul Clayton and Carrie Mae (Nearhood) Gooding. Alfred was raised in the small Kansas town of Baldwin, with 4 other siblings, (2 brothers and 2 sisters), whom he adored!
As a youngster, Alfred was creative and loved drawing, playing outside in the sunshine, always tinkering around and figuring out how to build things. When his parents moved to Tampa, KS, Alfred, being extremely competitive, excelled in high school sports such as football, basketball and track. After graduation, Al chose to pursue his passion and God-given talents in wood working, so he headed for Topeka in 1948 to train as a Journeyman Carpenter.
Alfred worked on many construction crews, one which assisted in the completion of the original iconic Jayhawk Motel that was a historic Topeka landmark for many years, welcoming visitors to the KS State Capitol on Highway 24 and N. Topeka Blvd.
Soon after this, Alfred dated, fell in love and married a pretty Stormont-Vail nursing graduate, Lila Claretta Beneke, on June 22nd 1952, in Lincolnville, KS. Together they remained happily married for 67 years. Having both been baptized and confirmed in their Christian Faith, Al and Lila both attended St John’s Lutheran Church and then became charter members of Faith Lutheran Church. Al served as Usher, Trustee, Building improvement advisor and Youth group.
Very soon, Al and Lila’s union grew into a blossoming family as they were blessed with 2 boys and 2 girls during their first 7 years together. To supplement their income, with Lila a nurse and Alfred a carpenter, they both took on additional jobs. Alfred was an Electrolux Vacuum salesman and Lila was an Independent Avon representative; quite the entrepreneurial couple. There was never a dull moment in this lively household filled with love and mischievous shenanigans.
Alfred’s carpentry skills found him building his own family’s Gold Star design “retro” homes along with several others in the neighborhoods of 19th and Burnett Rd as well as the 1800 block of Brooklyn in Topeka. He even constructed a playhouse for his daughters that included furniture, windows with curtains, running water and electricity.
In the midst of juggling several jobs and 4 children, Al and Lila still made time for family birthday parties, holiday celebrations, reunions and even as occasional vacations (Disneyland, Mexico, 1963 World’s Fair, Ozarks, Alaska, Germany) Adventures like sledding, go-carts, water Skiing, ping pong, tennis, racquetball and bicycling. Alfred was always the neighborhood hero: shoveling Driveways, mowing lawns and trimming trees without being asked.
In 1957 Alfred trained and joined the Topeka Fire Department. Al was committed to being a dedicated public servant for over 20 years. Al served proudly as a Captain of Fire stations #9 and #10 prior to his retirement in 1980. His children have fond memories of visits to fire stations, picnics and morning donuts.
Alfred continued working independently remodeling homes for many Topeka residents who fondly called on him repeatedly for their next home repair projects. He renovated numerous businesses and office building spaces for satisfied clients. Al also assisted his son, Ronald, in the management and improvement of over 30 rental properties even until his 80’s, rarely ever stopping to take a break. He also built the beautiful gazebo at Memorial Park Cemetery to honor his late Granddaughter, Ashley Gooding. Alfred’s intense work ethic and drive was truly amazing, always exemplifying honesty, his commitment to excellence and a job promptly yet extremely well done in each and every task he pursued.
Alfred was preceded in death by his parents, his Granddaughter Ashley Gooding, his son Ronald Gooding and his sister Cecile Penney. Survivors include: Wife Lila - Topeka, son Alan Gooding- Topeka, daughters: Sherri (Don) Rokey - Sabetha and Tammi (Pat) Pierce - Topeka. Grandchildren: Angela (Shawn) Marzan - Great Granddaughters Brightyn and Lorna - Colorado, Levi Rokey -Washington DC, Carina (Tommy) Broussard - Colorado, Katie (Eric) Scribner - KC, Josiah Rokey - KC and Brianna Gooding - Topeka. Brothers: Virgil (Barb) Gooding - El Dorado KS, Elmer Gooding - Tempe AZ. Sister: Lucille Kerbs - Tampa KS.
Being a Grandpa meant the world to Al and his eyes would always light up with pure joy and excitement every time his Grandchildren had the opportunity to visit.
Alfred’s kindness, Compassion, Belief in the goodness of other and his generosity beyond measure exemplify his “Lil Gospel Light” personality and way of life. We will miss our Beloved Husband, Dad, Grandpa and Great Grandpa. Knowing he is safe in the loving arms of Jesus gives us peace and Comfort, Amen.
Family Requests: No Flowers. Please consider donations to Faith Lutheran Church, 1716 SW Gage Blvd, Topeka, KS 66604; Topeka Lutheran School, 701 SW Roosevelt St, Topeka, KS 66606 or APDA - American Parkinson Disease Association, 660 S Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110.
A Funeral Ceremony will be at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at the Faith Lutheran Church, 1716 SW Gage Blvd., Topeka. The family will greet friends an hour prior at the church. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, in Topeka where he built the gazebo.
Masks and Social Distancing Required by all Attendees - Thank You.
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