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Obituaries

-- Patricia Sullivan

Eugene D. Gooding D.C. Police Officer

Eugene D. Gooding, 93, a retired inspector with the D.C. police department who was on duty during the riots that broke out in response to the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died Jan. 2 of complications from heart disease at his home in Alexandria.

On April 4, 1968, Mr. Gooding, then a captain with the D.C. police, rushed from his Bethesda home to Northwest Washington.

He worked for 54 hours straight, mostly on 14th Street NW between Euclid and Irving streets, where fires and looting consumed entire blocks. "We lost control within a couple of hours," he told The Washington Post last April. "Every arrest we made, we had to take the person back to the station and file a report. We didn't regain control for three days."

Eugene Davis Gooding was born in Kensington and graduated from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville in the early 1930s. Before joining the police force in 1941, he was a caddy master at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.

Shortly after the 1968 riots, he was promoted to inspector and took on a public relations role, speaking at churches, schools and other community venues about race relations. He retired from the department in 1970.

During retirement, he lived in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and played golf almost every day. He moved to Alexandria in the mid-1990s.

His wife of 61 years, Esther Hines Gooding, died in 1999.

Survivors include two children, Thomas E. Gooding of St. Michaels, Md., and Joan G. Huffman of Alexandria; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

-- Lauren Wiseman

Eleanor Nelson Church Member, Volunteer

Eleanor Nelson, 96, a member of Washington's Campbell AME Church for nearly 50 years and a member of several of its clubs and volunteer societies, died Dec. 28 at her home in Washington. She had stomach cancer.

For 65 years, Mrs. Nelson was a member of the Interdenominational Church Ushers Association, a group that promotes church ushering. She joined Campbell AME in 1959, serving as an usher until shortly before her death, and was active in helping feed the homeless.

In addition to her work through the church, she was a volunteer at Washington Hospital Center for more than 30 years, contributing more than 10,000 volunteer hours. She also was a teacher's aide at Fort Lincoln Elementary School in Washington, and she raised money for cancer and heart research.

Mrs. Nelson received more than 98 plaques and certificates for her volunteer efforts.

Eleanor Tucker was born in Annapolis, where she graduated from Bates High School. She moved to Washington in 1930 and married Willie J. Nelson.

Her husband died in 1978. Six of their children died, Horace Nelson in the late 1930s, Lester Nelson in 1978, Thomas Nelson in 1999, Clarence Nelson and Helen Roberts in 2004, and Willie Nelson Jr. in 2005.

Survivors include three children, Dorothy Weddington of Glen Burnie, Catherine Nelson of Woodstock, Ga., and Alton Nelson of Kingman, Ariz.; 15 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

-- Alexander F. Remington


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