Willie Mae Young Gooden was born on December 6, 1945, to Eddie and Ethelene Wells Young in the Lost Prairie Community of Texarkana, Arkansas. She was blessed with a twin brother, Wiley Ray Young, who passed due to illness at a very young age. She was raised by her grandparents, Jim and Lillian Wells, in Texarkana, Ark. She accepted Christ at an early age and loved singing in the choir. She attended Carver School and Graduated in the class of 1963 from Booker T. Washington High School. While at Booker T. Washington, she was an avid athlete. She played on the basketball team, softball, and ran track. She was also a cheerleader for the Lions.
After graduating high school, Willie Mae moved to Los Angeles, California, and on August 22, 1965, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Tamar Meshae Young. After returning to Texarkana, she met and married Curtis James Gooden Sr.; they resided in Hooks, Texas. To this union, one son was born on March 5, 1969, Curtis James Gooden Jr. After years in Hooks, Texas, Willie Mae returned to California and began a 20-year tenure as a Senior Microelectronics Computer Trimmer and Visual Inspector for Hughes Aircraft Company. Willie Mae later returned to Texarkana, Arkansas, to help care for her aging grandmother, Lillian, and her aging mother, Ethelene, until their death.
Upon her return to Texarkana, Willie Mae reunited with the Saint James Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Larry D. Jordan. She attended church faithfully and was a very active member . She loved singing in the choir and was an avid member of Sunday School. She was a faithful employee of Texarkana Independent School District’s Food Service Department. Willie Mae was a very active member of Majestic Star #427 Order of Eastern Star PHA, where she served as Warder and L. W. Williamson #201 Order of the Golden Circle, Valley of Washington, Orient of Arkansas PHA. She was very active in her class of 1963 and loved planning class reunions and events with her classmates.
Willie Mae was preceded in death by her grandparents, Jim and Lillian Wells. Her father, Eddie Young Sr.. Her mother, Ethelene Wells Smith. Her stepfather, L. C. Smith. Her twin brother, Wiley Ray Young, Her twin sisters, Mary Ann and JoAnn Wells. Her brother, Robert Lee Wells, Sr. Her aunt, Eldoris Smith. Her uncles, Robert “Bob” Wells & Clemon Young, and her beloved son, Curtis James Gooden, Jr.
She leaves to cherish her memory:
Daughter and Son-in-Law: Tamar and Ronald “Casey” Williams of Texarkana, AR.
Daughter-in Law: Angela Tatum Gooden of Texarkana, TX.
Sisters: Lillie Dancer of Texarkana, TX, Etta Wells Layton (George) of Corona, CA., Sharon Hargrove (Saul), Cheryl Andrews, Sandra Mitchell (Anthony) of East Hartford, CT., and Cynthia James (Robert) of Middletown, CT.
Brother: Eddie Young Jr. of Tustin, CA.
Sister-in-Law: Geraldine Wells of Hemet, CA
Paternal Aunt: Augusta Nelson of Escondido, CA
Maternal Uncle: Howard Lee Wells Sr. (Jackie) of Texarkana, AR.
Her Grandchildren: Terry Tatum (Robin), Brittney N. Hill, Curtis Gooden III (Jakkia), Ashley Gooden, Trevon Gooden (Carrie), Cashlin Gooden, and Antione Williams, and six great-grandchildren.
Special Nephew: Robert Lee Wells Jr. (Kim), Little Elm, TX.
Special Niece: Johnette Davenport, Prosper, TX.
Adopted Son: Ronnie Edmonds (Janice), Texarkana, AR
Adopted Niece & Nephew: Shaun & Ray Brown, Texarkana, AR
Three Special Friends: Jacquelin Stewart, Doris Block, and Christine Thurston, Texarkana, AR
A host of nieces, nephews and other family members and friends.
Funeral Service Saturday, April 30, 2022 12:00 noon at Mt. Grove Baptist Church with Pastor Larry Jordan, Eulogist and Dr. Pastor L. B. George, Jr., Officiating. Burial at Chapelwood Memorial Gardens under the direction of Jones Stuart Mortuary.
MASK ARE REQUIRED AT THE SERVICE