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Hildred Lee Booker Arvine was born October 1, 1927, in Prince Edward, Virginia to the late Isaac William Lee and Bettie Streat. On May 5, 2023, our beloved Hildred gracefully rested at age 95 at home in Richmond, Virginia. Hildred was the eldest of seven children. She was one of a kind. She resided in Prince Edward, Virginia where she met and married her late husband David Talmadge Booker, and would have five children: Vernon, Stanley, Denise, Marvin, and Lorenzo. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the courts ordered the schools in Prince Edward County Virginia to integrate. In protest, the county closed the entire public school system. Hildred was a woman of action.
After the death of her husband David in 1963, Hildred decided to relocate to Paterson, New Jersey so that her children would not be subjected to being bused out of the county or forgo their education altogether. As a widow with five children, Hildred started a new life in New Jersey doing domestic work in private homes for several families to make ends meet. Hildred diligently worked for the families that employed her and they considered her as part of their extended family. Managing her busy work schedule would mean sometimes working days and evenings going from one job to the next. Hildred always put her family first and would ensure a meal was prepared for them. She loved casseroles and was known to pop a casserole in the oven before heading out to work.
Eventually, Hildred married the late William (Willy) Arvine; they would have one son the late William Keith Arvine. Both Hildred and Willy would work hard raising their children and buying their first home on E34th Street in Paterson. As active members of the Neighborhood Block Association, they were instrumental in spearheading many improvements in their community. After several years in New Jersey and after the death of her husband Willy, Hildred relocated to Richmond Virginia to be closer to her daughter the late Denise Wheeler. She resumed working as a health care aide working in nursing homes and then privately in homes. Hildred had a boundless amount of energy. Finally, at age 90 she decided to retire. However, still independent she was still driving to run a quick errand. Traveling with friends and family was something that brought Hildred a lot of joy. There were many trips in the States as well as cruises to the Caribbean. Hildred stated many times “I’ve been everywhere and seen it ALL!” Throughout her entire life, Hildred was an active and dedicated church member.
As a woman of faith, Sundays were her time to serve and worship. She was a long-standing member of Union Baptist Church in Passaic, New Jersey where she served as a Missionary and Usher; Levi Baptist Church in Green Bay, Virginia and Bethlehem Baptist Church in North Chesterfield, Virginia. What was most important to her was her family and close circle of friends. Whoever Hildred met she treated them with dignity and respect. She presented herself to the world in her way, marching to the beat of her drum. Hildred unapologetically spoke her mind and her mere existence was a force to be reckoned with, but she was always also a bright light that everyone was drawn to. The bond Hildred had with her siblings would never be broken and they talked on the phone daily. She had a deep affection for each of her siblings. Hildred will be most remembered for her inner strength, confidence, dignity, sense of humor, bold words of wisdom, and how she made us feel loved. Hildred was very proud of each of her children. She was their biggest cheerleader and made many sacrifices so that her family would have what they needed. Her strong character and resilience were on display as she buried 5 of her dear children. She was an amazing woman. Hildred fought the good fight; now it is time for her to rest.
Hildred’s memories will be cherished by her devoted son, Lorenzo Booker (Jennifer), Ashburn, VA her siblings Lottie Miller – Farmville, VA; June (Jean) Lee – Green Bay, VA; Ralph (Hazel) Lee – Paterson, NJ; Larry Lee – Baltimore, MD. Grandchildren: Eunice Booker, Dana Cureton, David Booker, Lynette Booker, Codero Mitchell, Tyah Love, Larry Wheeler, Lanice Anderson, Dashawn
Barnett, Gregory Booker, Tyler Booker, Keshawna Arvine, Farrad Arvine, and a host of great-grandchildren, as well as great-great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many dear friends.