Jimmy Gooden Jr.

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Jimmy Gooden Jr., 37; A 'big kid' who loved a laugh

James F. Gooden Jr. knew everybody's name, and everybody knew his laugh.

Jimmy was the deli manager at Hi-Lo in Swansea and a devoted husband and stepfather.

"He loved to laugh. He loved to make other people laugh," said his wife, Lori Ann Gooden.

Customers and coworkers could hear him chuckling across the store. He was the kind of guy who remembered customers' names and asked about their kids.

During his coffee break, Jimmy would call his wife, an assistant branch manager at a bank, to tell her that he loved her.

"I feel like what I had in 10 years with him some people don't have in a lifetime," Lori Ann said. "We understood what made a relationship work. We were committed to each other. At the end of the day, we always wanted to be together."

Jimmy, 37, was born in Providence and lived on Clarence Street in Cranston. He graduated from La Salle Academy in 1983 and joined the National Guard as a member of the 119th Military Police unit.

In 1995, he earned an associate's degree in business entrepreneurship from Johnson & Wales.

"Ideally, he wanted to open a cafe, one that had bands, kind of like what The Station did," said his brother John Gooden. "He wanted to name it Moonlight Mile, after the Stones song."

Jimmy loved to attend concerts at small venues so he could get close to the band. He bought advance tickets to the Great White show and went with Gino Companatico, Andrew Paskowski, and a friend of Paskowski's. The three others were injured but survived.

Jimmy met Lori Ann in 1992 when they both worked at Almacs on Elmwood Avenue. They married in 1995. Her children, Jessica L. and Lauren J. Iacobucci, were 6 and 4 at the time.

"He took to them. He was like a big kid himself," Lori Ann said.

Jimmy stood 6 feet tall and weighed about 220 pounds. He worked out almost daily at Future Fitness Center. He enjoyed skiing, fishing and going to the beach. He loved to be surrounded by friends, and to crack them up.

He'd leave silly voice-mail messages for them, he would burp his stepdaughter's full name, and once, he brought his elderly grandmother to a restaurant where the wait staff dressed up as aliens.

Lori Ann said he had a comedian's gift for perfect timing.

"He was always smiling, always happy, always happy-go-lucky," his brother said. "He didn't let much bother him. . . . His attitude was: I don't change my act for anyone."

-- Cathleen F. Crowley

source Providence Journal


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