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Consul General of Jamaica, Dr. Basil K. Bryan, has hailed late Jamaican real estate developer Dr. Wilfred George Gooden, as a philanthropist, who was dedicated to the betterment of humankind in his native Jamaica and in the United States, where he resided.
“Wilfred Gooden’s life was to help others achieve and young people in particular to reach their dreams. He gave generously of his time and money to numerous causes. He was indeed a philanthropist,” Dr. Bryan said, as he addressed a memorial service for Dr. Gooden on Sunday (Jan. 21) at the Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Harlem, New York.
Scores of elected officials from the United States government, the diplomatic corps, as well as government officials from Jamaica, turned out to pay their respects to the Dr. Gooden, who died earlier this month from a heart attack.
In her tribute, United States Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson-Lee, likened Dr. Gooden to civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noting that through his advocacy and outreach efforts, he helped to create better housing conditions for New Yorkers.
Born in Westmoreland, Dr. Gooden moved to the United States in 1945, where he founded a general contracting company with a strong focus on real estate development. As owner/builder of multiple housing units, he helped to improve the living conditions of New Yorkers, by renovating a number of old tenement buildings into two and three bedroom apartments.
His work in housing development was recognized by former New York City Mayor, David Dinkins, who appointed him as a consultant to city’s housing authority.
In 1996, he was recognized by ‘Message Magazine’ as an outstanding humanitarian for services to his community and country through its membership and affiliation with a number of charitable organizations and associations including the Foundation for International Self Help (FISH), American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ), Concerned Committee for Christian Education (CCCE) and the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO).
A decade earlier, he was honoured by the government of Jamaica with the Order of Distinction (OD) and was conferred with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the Faith Grant College in Birmingham, Alabama.
Through Dr. Gooden’s generosity, scores of Jamaican students studying in the United States were assured of tuition, housing and other assistance.
Dr. Gooden survived by wife Sybil and brother Vibert.