A Life Well Lived: Mother Ella Velma Goodman

Posted April 21, 2021
By Earl Simms

​His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.                           

                                                                                                                                                                Matthew 25:21

The grand First Lady of Holy Assembly Church of God in Christ in Pasadena, Mother Ella V. (Riley) Goodman, was called from labor to reward just before Holy Week and before her 89th birthday on March 22, 2021. Married to the late Bishop Floyd J. Goodman, she leaves behind a legacy of faithful pastoral and community service, dedicated work to the Los Angeles Unified School District, and encouragement to an extended and blended family that will miss her constant love for them.

Born March 23, 1932, Mother Goodman was a native of Marion, Louisiana-Union Parish. She was the eighth of twelve children born to the late Joe Lee Riley Sr. and Lucinda Smedley Riley.

In 1955 she moved to California, and there she raised her three beautiful daughters Ella (Louise), Lorraine, and Patricia.

On December 17, 1977, she married the late Bishop Goodman, and they blended their families, now adding Floyd, David, Joyce, Larry, and Samuel Goodman, to her care. 

Two years later, Bishop Goodman was called to assume the pastorate of the Holy Assembly Church of God in Christ in Pasadena, California, where Mother Goodman took pride in being the First Lady and a Bishop’s wife for the next 27 years.  Always working beside her husband in ministry, this Louisiana beauty was fashion-forward yet prayerful with a soulful, sultry singing voice that could make your heart smile. 

She led the Holy Assembly Church’s Women’s department with passion and purpose, working hard throughout the years to raise money for her Annual Women’s Day event, which provided funding for critical church expenses.  

Most importantly, she is fondly remembered for her tireless hospitality and jurisdictional work alongside her husband.  She was a member of the Jurisdictional Women’s Department Advisory Department and a member of the Executive Board, significantly assisting both their past and current supervisors at the Jurisdiction level.

Mother Goodman was not only a devoted Bishop’s wife and mother, but she was also a dedicated and hard-working factory worker.  She later retired from the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she worked as a plant manager at Haddon Elementary School for over 20 years.

Since cooking down-home, southern-style meals was one of her favorite pastimes, in 2010, Bishop C.E. Milton and the Holy Assembly parishioners honored her by naming the executive dining area as the Mother Ella V. Goodman Prayer Room. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the room has become home to the regional Holy Assembly food program, where more than 7,500 boxes of food are distributed every week throughout Southern California.

Mother Goodman was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, and encourager.  She will be missed by a host of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends, along with the Holy Assembly Church of God in Christ family and the Southern California Evangelistic Jurisdiction.  

She is preceded in death by her husband Bishop Floyd J. Goodman, her parents Joe and Lucinda Riley, her brothers Roosevelt Riley, Floyd Riley, Andrew Riley, Joe Lee Riley Jr, and Booker T. Riley; her sisters Roxie Staten, Elizabeth Riley, Beulah Riley, Knether Lee, Marguerite Riley Milton, and Emma Lewis and her stepchildren Joyce Ann Smith, Michael James Goodman, and Larry Goodman. 

Left to cherish her legacy and memory are her three daughters. Ella Louise Payne (Robert), Rancho Vista CA, Lorraine Williams, Palmdale CA and Patricia Wood (Charles), Salem, North Carolina; her stepsons Floyd Goodman Jr., Pacoima CA, and David Goodman (Donna), Valencia CA.;  brother Clemon T. Riley (Gloria), sister Eugenia Riley Goodman; grandchildren, Robert Da’Vonne Payne Jr., (Jamie), Brandon Payne (Lindsey), Tierney Caldwell,  and Tanisha Elliott (William); and Charles "Chip" Wood (Brittany); great-grand Children Isaiah, Brendon, Marissa, Kathryn, Haley, Reginal, Makiya, Heaven, Zuri, Arya, and Charles "Cash," Corbin and Lucy.​

Funding  for Pasadena Black Pages Provided by
Pasadena Media Foundation #SaveLocalNews