On July 23rd, 1927 in Thomasville, GA on Oak Street, Irving Henry Redden, Sr. was born with a vile over his head to Gertrude Carrington Redden and Ben Joseph Redding as the last addition to five other children: Hattie Redden, Grace Edythe Redden, Ernestine R. Redden, Dr. Sidney Joshua Redden, and Mattie Jane Caroline Redden, who Irving precedes in death. He is also preceded in death by two older cousins, Clifton and Francis (Frank) Powell, Big Mama (Grandmother) Mollie Carter Carrington and Uncles: John Carrington, Henry Carrington and Aunt Agnes Carrington Glenn.
As a child growing up during the Great Depression, Irving was a prankster and always had a playmate in siblings closest in age, Mattie and Sidney, his younger cousin, Paul “Wyman” Glenn, as well as childhood friends William Robinson and Priestly Green. Together they would go to matinee movies where he grew a fondness for motion pictures and movie stars, but he grew to love Western films the most.
More than movies, Irving loved music, candy, and his family. He had a huge sweet tooth which his mother, Gertie always satisfied for birthdays, holidays or just because – he loved mother’s cakes and pies. When his Big Mama was called home when Irving was young, he remained at his mother’s side until her death shortly after.
Looking to his uncles John and Henry, Irving grew into a man during the second world war. During that time, he attended Douglass High School in Thomasville, GA where he became an avid Prep-football player as the running back. His teammates called him “Hoss.” He could have made it to the National Football League if he wanted to. Instead, after his graduation in 1945, he was drafted into World War II as an Army Guard at Fort Lee in New Jersey. He followed his older brother, Sidney, and friends Robbie and Priestly, who were already serving in the war.
After he served, he remained up north and followed a dream of living in New York City to become a professional musician with the help of his cousin, Clifton, who lived in the city. Irving also studied at Colombia for a short time, which led him to settle in Harlem.
Irving was a hard worker dedicated to his dreams, working jobs at Horn & Hardart, Howard Johnson’s, Jerome’s Florist, and settled as a dedicated worker for the United States Postal Service. He still pursued music as a professional jazz drummer playing at nightclubs. Between work and music, he still made time for his family in Thomasville.
In the 1950s, he met his future wife, Margaret “Margarita” Theresa Gilmore in Brooklyn, where they fell in love and had their only child, Irving Henry Redden, Jr. in 1963. Irving was a dedicated father, serving as a Scout Leader for Irving Jr.’s boy scout troop. He was also a faithful servant of God.
March 21st, 2022, Irving Henry Redden Sr. passed peacefully at home with the family he created on Lenox Ave. He leaves behind his son Irving Henry Redden Jr.; Grandchildren Irene Teresa Crystal Norman, Irving Henry Norman III, and Madison Imani Redden; Siblings-in-Law Artis Gilmore and Katherine Hollomond Redden; Godsons Wayne Brown and Derek Brown; Grandnieces Fabeanne’ LaGrace Collins and Kenya O’Keevia Ethel Hunter; and Great grandchildren Tyana Tajmarie Norman, Isis Josephine April Norman, Jamir Adeyemi Austin Scales, and Nihiyah Margaret Collette Scales. Irving’s family will always remember his wisdom, his faith in God, and the impact he had on our lives. We love you, Irving, and you are forever missed.