Larry Wayne Gooden Sr., 46, was taken to his heavenly home on June 8, 2007, after losing a very brave and valiant battle with cancer. He was born Dec. 5, 1960, to James Austin and Mary Karleena (Blackmon) Gooden. He attended El Dorado Springs schools his entire life, graduating in May 1979.
He married his "soul mate," Eileen Teresa Bartkoski on June 21, 1981, and she was lucky enough to spend nearly 26 blissful years as his wife. They were blessed with three wonderful children whom he cherished as the light of his life, Larry Wayne Jr., 22; Austin Edward, 18; and Melissa Evelyn, 11, all of the home.
Larry worked at several local jobs, including Allison's Tire & Oil and Beaty Equipment for several years, before becoming self-employed in farming, beef cattle and custom bailing 10 years ago. He loved the outdoors, hunting, and fishing, and being with his buddies. He could build or repair nearly anything and loved helping everyone he knew.
Larry knew his purpose in life. He truly loved and respected everyone he met and always put others needs ahead of his own. He could not stand conflict and believed that everyone was equal. It hurt him when someone thought differently and put others down. He loved the Montevallo/Virgil City community with all his heart. He lived there nearly all his life, and felt very blessed to have such wonderful neighbors that he treated like family.
Larry was larger than life hero, not only to his family, but to many others who knew and loved him, for many reasons. But he was very humble, and these "heroic acts," to us, were just "the right thing to do," to him. He loved life every day, and let God guide him to the work that needed done. He never complained, no matter how hard the struggles, and thanked God every day for his many blessings. He wished for everyone to know God, and get right with the Lord. He attended St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church with his family, and Montevallo Baptist Church, as a child.
Survivors include his loving wife, Eileen; his children, Larry Jr., Austin and Melissa; four brothers, Lewis Pennigton of Compton Junction, Sam Gooden of Walker, Homer Gooden of Milo, and Paul Gooden of Lamar; six sisters, Linda Dedrick of Bolivar, Mo., Rose Chastain and Ruth Woods of Nevada, Laura Cook and Rebecca Long of Milo, and Pam Meister of Nevada; 33 brothers and sisters-in-law and a multitude of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and one brother.
Services were held today at 10:30 a.m., with Joseph Orthel officiating. Burial was in Virgil City Cemetery under the direction of Hackleman and Sons Funeral Home. Pallbearers were Mark White, Kevin Parrish, Bob Cartwright, Ron Cartwright, Danny Rogers, Jim Huff, Wayne Pennock and Alan Thrasher.