February 23, 1934 ~ December 10, 2009
James Goins, Jr., was born to James and Mary Goins on February 23, 1934, in Woodson, Arkansas. Like most other adults and children in this rural country town, he worked in the fields, planting and picking cotton from about 4 years old until years later. He would attend school before work, which would last until sundown.
His parents taught him the importance of God and church. His father, along with Willie Current and a few other men, founded and built First Baptist Church, where James was baptized at a young age. His faith would remain an important part of his life through the years.
James was a likeable kid who got along well with his older siblings — his brother Ernest and sister Mattie Bea. He also performed well in school, especially in math and geography, and enjoyed playing baseball. He attended Wrightsville High School in Arkansas, graduating from there in 1951. On August 29, 1954, James married one of Willie's daughters, Mildred Louise Current, whom he affectionately called "Lou." It seemed as if the two of them had always known each other. "Junior and I were born and raised in Woodson together," Mildred says. "We went to church and school together. We came up together."
James joined the U.S. Army soon after getting married, and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. The following year, daughter Deborah Ann was born, and in 1956, Stepheny Kaye was born. After being honorably discharged from the Army in 1957, he enlisted in the Reserves. He moved to Los Angeles, California, in search of a new, better life for his young family. He got a job as a maintenance worker at the Hollywood Bowl and found a small home for them to rent. Mildred and the girls soon followed.
James worked his way up at the Bowl and at other L.A. County departments. Eventually, he and Mildred bought a home of their own in Compton, California, in 1960. He was honorably discharged from the Reserves in 1961. They joined Zion Baptist Evangelistic Temple and raised their children in the church. To help pay the bills, James occasionally worked at the Shrine Auditorium as a parking lot attendant. A few years later, Sandra Jane was born, followed by Jessica Diann.
In the '70s, he worked part time as a salesman at Sears, until Mildred started working full time as a nurse's aide in 1977.
Having more free time meant that James could become more active in his church. He was a faithful servant of God for decades, working as an usher, volunteering to help different committees on various functions, and organizing special fund-raisers and events.
In 1991, he retired from L.A. County as supervisor of equipment for the Department of Beaches and Harbors , after more than 34 years of service. Upon retiring and being asked the inevitable question, "So, what's your plan now?" he would respond by asking, "Do I need a plan?" He enjoyed a life of leisure, which included watching sports and spending time with his family. "From the day he retired," Mildred says, "his new job was supervising us, his family: making sure everybody was where they were supposed to be, doing what they were supposed to do, and going where they were supposed to go – and being on time!"
He passed away early Thursday morning, December 10, 2009, at West Anaheim Medical Center, in Anaheim, California. Even though he has departed this life, he has left an important legacy. "It's clear that there are three things that were really important to him," his daughter, Sandra, says. "He loved his work, he loved his family, and he loved God."
His legacy also includes those he leaves behind to celebrate his life: his loving wife Mildred Louise Goins of Inglewood, CA; four daughters: Deborah Ann Johnson (Charles) of Buena Park, CA, Stepheny Kaye Hatley (Joseph Larry) of Woodson, AR, and Sandra and Jessica Goins, both of Inglewood, CA; three sisters-in-law: Lois Moore-Sleighter of Yountville, CA, Ludell Current of Woodson, AR, and Jeanette Current of Redfield, AR; two brothers-in-law: Thomas Current of Redfield, AR, and Royce Sleighter of Yountville, CA; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
A gathering of family will be held on Tuesday December 15, 2009 at McCormick Inglewood Chapel from 4 to 8pm. The funeral service will also be at McCormick Inglewood Chapel on Wednesday December 16, 2009 at 11am. A reception will follow in McCormick's Lighthouse Reception Room until 2pm. Burial at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside will take place on Thursday December 17 at 1:15pm.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The James Goins, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is being created in his honor. For more information, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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