Larrydean Goodridge was a mother, phlebotomist, and pastor at the Light Full House Gospel Prayer Ministry. Credit: Peaches Goodridge

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Pastor Larrydean Salome Wright Goodridge created the Light Full House Gospel Prayer Ministry, where every morning she would connect with other pastors and participants virtually to preach and pray. She called it the prayer line. Her message was one of love and positivity. 

Goodridge would return home to Brooklyn Park from an eight-hour shift as a healthcare worker, lead the prayer line and then go take care of her grandchildren.  

“She was committed,” her daughter, Peaches Goodridge, said.

Goodridge died June 1 at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale from COVID-19. She was 45 years old. 

Peaches remembers her mother as a funny, fiery spirit with a lot of love for her family and community. In the Liberian community, people take on other kids as their own, said Peaches, one of Goodridge’s biological children. Even her extended family members and friends saw her as a mom or grandmother.

“She raised my cousin as her son who, up to today, calls her mom,” Peaches said. “His three kids call her grandma.”

Goodridge emigrated from Monrovia, Liberia, in 2000. Her husband, Nathaniel, had family and worked as an electrician in both Liberia and the United States, so he traveled back and forth between the two often. 

They weren’t all able to emigrate at the same time, however. Peaches and Nathaniel didn’t join Goodridge in the United States until 2006, when she was around six years old.

Sahan Journal COVID-19 Memorial Project

Here at Sahan Journal, we’ve committed to memorializing the lives of Minnesota’s new Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19. Imagine a photo album with all their faces and names. Flipping through the pages, we’d see our family, friends—and, of course, more. 

We’ve begun creating some version of that album and have documented stories about people from the Hmong, Latino, and East African communities. We’re covering people who have disproportionately suffered through this pandemic, by speaking with people who knew and loved them.

While separated, Peaches lived with Goodridge’s family in Liberia. She did not feel that distant from her mother because they talked on the phone every day. She was also quite close with her mother’s family. 

“Back home, families all live together,” Peaches said. “I was around people I had spent a lot of time with.”

The immigration process took a couple of tries, Peaches said, and her mother was hesitant to leave Liberia at first. She did not want to leave without Peaches, and she was an established member of her community. Goodridge did not want to leave that behind. However, she eventually settled down with Nathaniel in Brooklyn Park to give her two daughters more opportunities and to escape the second Liberian civil war.

In addition to being a pastor at Faith Embassy Church in Robbinsdale, Goodridge worked as a phlebotomist, drawing blood at North Memorial Hospital. She enjoyed her job and would help other people she knew receive their own phlebotomy certificate. 

“It was another way for her to tell people about God,” Peaches said. “It was a way for her to reach a lot of sick people.”

Peaches said she received many phone calls from participants in the prayer line as well as other phlebotomists offering their condolences after her mother passed. 

“She always made sure people walked towards love,” she said. “It was nice to hear that even on the job, she was loved.”

As far as Peaches knows, Goodridge did not have any underlying health conditions. Peaches last spoke to her mother the Sunday before she passed. “She didn’t sound fine at that point, but I still just thought she was going to be okay,” she said.

The next day, Goodridge was taken to the same hospital she worked at for treatment. She was having trouble breathing. After she was admitted, she took a photo of herself in the hospital and sent it to a few family members and friends. A few hours later she died. 

Goodridge will be remembered for her kind, generous personality and for the impact she had on her community through her prayer line. She was never too busy to help others in need, Peaches said.

“She had everybody’s problems on her shoulders—praying for everybody,” she said. “She was there for you.”

Goodridge is remembered by her husband, Nathaniel Goodridge; two daughters, Natlyn Peaches Goodridge and Ashley Goodridge; stepson Ned Goodridge; three whom she thought of as children, Jerry Nelson, Tarlee Mentee and Papi Wright; and her father, Major Clement Wright. 

She is also remembered by her sisters, Louise Wright Davis, Tonia Wright, Mai Wright, Alfreda McGill, and Kayma Wright; brothers, Darlingston Wright, Peegee Wright, Presley Henson, Orea Wright, John Wright, and Nuku Wright; and grandchildren Jeriphine Nelson, Jeridean Nelson, Jerry Nelson Jr, Jeremy Nelson, Laz Areh, and Cherish Johnson.

Interested in the Sahan Journal COVID-19 Memorial Project? Here’s how you can contribute.

We’ve started finding their stories, but we have a long way to go to memorialize Minnesotans from immigrant communities. We’ve expanded this project to include community contributions. If you’ve lost a family member, a friend, or a coworker to the coronavirus, we can honor them with your help.

1. By filling out the form below, your responses will provide us with the information to write an obituary about your loved one.

2. If you share your contact information at the end of the form, a reporter may reach out to learn more about the story you’ve shared. They will also ask for a photo. This step is entirely voluntary: It’s there to help us find out more for the story. 

3. Our reporters will then catalog these stories on Sahan Journal’s website, where readers can remember those who lost their lives to COVID-19, while also learning about what made their lives special.

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Emily Pofahl

Emily Pofahl is a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in journalism and theatre arts.