Mr. Alfred Aylesworth Goode Jr., also known as "A.J.," went home to meet his heavenly Father on Friday, April 12, 2013, at Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond.
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A.J was born on Jan. 11, 1984, at Southside Regional Hospital in Petersburg. He was the first of three children born to a gracious, Alfred A. Goode Sr. and Beverly E. Goode.
He was a remarkable, talented individual and it showed from his early childhood. At a very young age, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior and dedicated his teenage and adult years to serving Him, his church, and community. "Alfie", as his family would call him, had a spirit larger than life and a quick creative mind that could inspire and astound everyone he met.
At 3 years old, he joined Crusade for Christ Family Worship Church, COGIC, in Richmond, under the leadership of Pastor Dr. James I. Johnson Jr. and First Lady Mary E. Johnson. There he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, was baptized, and was ordained a minister of the Gospel. At CFC, "Minister A.J." found his calling and his God given ability and talent truly shined.
A.J began his education at Southside Christian Academy in Petersburg. At the age of 13, A.J. spent his eighth grade school year living in the country of Ivory Coast in West Africa with his aunt, Sachiko Goode, who lived and worked there. In Africa, he attended International Community School of Abidjan with students from all over the world. In doing so, he became fluent in French and gained an invaluable cultural experience. A.J grew up to become quite a scholar; he graduated in the top three in his class at Matoaca High School in 2001. At the age of 17, he was accepted into and attended the prestigious New York University Tish School of the Arts in New York, N.Y. He was soon on his way chasing after his dream of being a professional actor.
After a year, A.J. returned home more inspired than ever and began to write the first of his many plays. "Alley" as his sisters would sometimes call him, loved to travel. On more than one tour, he enjoyed visiting the countries of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Ghana, and Cameroon. From these countries, he picked up cultural traditions and language accents that he often would use as material for his plays. AJ's passion was the performing arts! He always wanted to leave an impact on his audience, inspire them to do more, and make them think. AJ.'s work was always "out of the box," well-written, full of humor, and relevant to today's issues.
In 2007, A.J. graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with his dual Bachelor of Art degrees in International Studies and Religious Studies. In that same year, he began working for Associated Educational Services of Virginia, as a therapeutic day treatment counselor for "at risk" students in Richmond. It was here A.J. was able to pour into young people and share his experiences and wisdom with children that truly needed his guidance. After working in the school system, A.J. began in home counseling which truly meant so much to him. Being a young man, he could relate to a lot of issues and get through to his charges where others seemingly couldn't. A.J was never afraid to say what he felt and at the same time, showed the love of Jesus. In 2011, he began the work towards his Master's Degree in Social Work at VCU. In 2012, he began working at Virginia Union University in Richmond where he assisted the director of the International Studies department. This job was the epitome of A.J.'s beliefs and passion with his love of culture, traveling, and the arts. He was truly in his element, and from the beginning everyone who saw him there knew it. At VUU, among other things, A.J. put on plays, and arranged and lead overseas trips for the young students, even going back east to France, and Italy.
A. J.'s dreams were never selfish or self-serving. He had recently finished writing another play and had started on another. His future dreams were to found and open an international film school for youth, incorporating dance, drama, and counseling, giving young people a platform for expression and healing. A.J had many plans of traveling, locally and globally. He was also planning to learn a third language but couldn't decide between Arabic and Chinese. AJ's dreams were never small and he truly believed God for them all. His legacy will never die; he never waited for life to happen, he chased it! Alfred's life spoke for itself, he loved people, and people loved him.
Preceding A.J in death, maternal grandmother, Evangelist Lucy M. Robinson; paternal grandfather, retired Lt. Col. Carl M. Goode Sr.; and aunt/godmother, Pearl A. Goode; nephew/godson, Angel M. Balli.
Alfred leaves to cherish his precious memories to his devoted father, Alfred A. Goode Sr. and mother Beverley E. Goode; devoted sisters, Michelle Balli and Melodie Goode; brother-in-law, Nicholas Balli; paternal grandmother, Mildred A. Goode; maternal grandfather, Sterling P. Woodard (Joyce); one nephew, Nicholas E. Balli; aunts, Sachiko S. Goode, Magdalene Goode and Sheina Waddell; one uncle, Carl M. Goode Jr.; devoted first cousins, Pastor Nakita Garris-Watson (James), Sachiko Goode, Antwaune Goode, Tiffeny Goode, Brandi Lambert (Quintrail), Cierra Goode, Mildred Goode, Carlene Goode, and Floannie Goode; special friend, Patricia Russell; honorary sisters, Brittany and Tiffany Hampton and Shanee Wynn; and devoted friends, Talethia Joyner and Tracey Smith; and a host of extended family members and friends.
A funeral service for Mr. Alfred A. "AJ" Goode Jr. will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 800 Augusta Ave., Petersburg, the Rev. Dr. Wesley K. McLaughlin, pastor and Dr. James I. Johnson, eulogist. The interment to follow at Maury Cemetery, Richmond.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, April 19, 2013, at Crusaded for Christ Family Worship COGIC, 1700 W. Moore St., Richmond.
Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Mr. Goode at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, 804-732-8911, www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.
Published in The Progress-Index from Apr. 13 to Apr. 18, 2013