MARIA C. GONZALES NOVEMBER 30, 1938 – JULY 16, 2013 Maria "Carolina" Gonzales was born November 30, 1938 in El Paso, Texas to Jose Gonzales and Frances Palma. Maria was one of seven children, Tomas, Elena, Mona, Juan, Ruben, and Alejandro. After graduating from Vista High School in 1957, Maria contemplated being a Physical Education teacher as she enjoyed all sports and felt this was her true passion. In her senior class yearbook she was noted "Queen of Sports" and actually mentioned in her senior class will, that she "willed her athletic ability to all the girls who flunked gym". She was an active member of the Girls Athletic...
MARIA C. GONZALES
NOVEMBER 30, 1938 – JULY 16, 2013
Maria "Carolina" Gonzales was born November 30, 1938 in El Paso, Texas to Jose Gonzales and Frances Palma. Maria was one of seven children, Tomas, Elena, Mona, Juan, Ruben, and Alejandro. After graduating from Vista High School in 1957, Maria contemplated being a Physical Education teacher as she enjoyed all sports and felt this was her true passion. In her senior class yearbook she was noted "Queen of Sports" and actually mentioned in her senior class will, that she "willed her athletic ability to all the girls who flunked gym". She was an active member of the Girls Athletic Association throughout her high school years and held the office of president of the GAA in her senior year. She also joined track where she could run faster than most women her age but just to be well rounded, she joined the Spanish club (how obvious was that for her!) However, after graduation Maria joined the Army and served three years at Fort McPherson in Georgia. Maria was trained as a tele-type operator but also joined the Women's Army Corps softball and basketball leagues, traveling throughout the country competing with other female teams. One local article written about the WAC basketball team noted that Carolina was the fastest player on the team which more than made up for her 5' 3" in height.
After the Army, Maria worked for various companies but settled in as a test technician for GEC Marconi, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. After 30+ years of service, Maria retired and began to travel the world, taking 10 cruises visiting Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Always the sports enthusiast, she even learned to dive while in the Grand Cayman. Maria also found time to follow her passion of sports by volunteering her time to coach girl's Bobby Sox softball in Vista for 10 years. There truly wasn't a sport she didn't love!
Maria loved to tinker around the house. She favored crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, specifically Thomas Kincade scene puzzles, and building model boats and planes. If she could put it together, that's what she enjoyed. She had a knack of "McGuyvering" things, for example, the handle on her recliner was too low so she configured some PVC piping to fit over the lever making the handle much easier to reach and use! I went to change the light bulb in her recessed fixture and I couldn't get my fingers around the bulb to turn it. Even though she was weak and on oxygen, she walked me through the steps to use duct tape to configure it by sticking a piece across the bulb and then use the leftover over duct tape to twist off the light bulb, and by golly it worked, easy as 1, 2, 3 to remove the light bulb!
Maria's friends could always count on a good cup of coffee and some jokes when they visited. The also knew her other passion, the casinos! Not to mention the annual foray to Del Mar for the races! Maria kept in touch with her work buddies and would assist in the annual Christmas Get Together as well as attending the monthly retiree luncheons.
Now let's talk about Carolina, which is what her family called her. Funny note…as I was looking through her papers I noticed that in the Army her fellow WACs nicknamed her "Caddie", maybe because she loved golf!? But whether you knew her as Maria, Caddie or Carolina, she was a very special woman who loved to cook and try new recipes all the time. She will best be known for continuing a family tradition of making tamales each year during the Christmas holidays. The wall hangings in the house were covered with holiday wrapping paper making it look like presents were hanging on the wall and everyone would pile into the tiny kitchen to take part in making the tamales. At the end of the day we would have an ornament exchange and then enjoy the homemade tamales. In addition, for many summers, Carolina held a family Fourth of July party where nieces and nephews, cousins and friends could swim in the pool and enjoy a cookout.
Carolina was always a staunch patriot and was invited to attend the "Women in Military Memorial" in Washington DC in 1997. She felt it a great honor to attend and travelled with her great aunt, Petra "Titi", and her life partner Phyllis, to enjoy the event and sights of Washington D. C. Of all things American, Carolina truly believed in supporting veterans. She was a contributor to the AMVETS and local VFW. If there was a flag on it, she bought it. Her other great passion was the Chargers. Nothing was better than putting together a bunch of snacks and goodies and sitting down to watch the Chargers play on any given Sunday!
Carolina's two-year battle with breast cancer sadly came to an end on July 16th. She was surrounded by her immediate family as she took her last breath. She died in peace and with love in her heart.
Carolina is survived by two sisters, Elena Hernandez of San Diego and Mona Quigley of Vista and one brother, Ruben Gonzales of Shoreline, Washington. Carolina also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews from San Diego and Riverside counties, Arlington and Amarillo, Texas, Danbury Ct., and Concord, North Carolina.
She will forever be in our hearts and she rests peacefully with Grandma Kika, Titi, and Phyllis.
Maria Carolina Gonzales
August 30, 2013
Delivered by C. Quigley
Good Morning For those of you I haven't met, I am Maria's niece, Cindy and on behalf of Maria's family,
I want to thank you for coming today.
Let me also thank Pastor Plank, the McLeod Funeral staff and the Military Honors representatives who are here today.
Some of you call her Maria, friends, neighbors, co-workers, our family called her Carolina, when she was in the Army, her Army bunkmates called her Caddie, and in high school she was known as Caroline. So I guess she went by many names, but today, I will call her Carolina.
I want to reflect on a few things about Carolina, I have never met anyone as strong as Aunt Carolina. Physically, Mentally and Emotionally. Physically she could lift lumber or move furniture if needed. There wasn't a task she felt she couldn't handle. Mentally she had prepared herself for death and had accepted that her life was near its end. She even wrote her own obituary! Not the one that was in the paper but she did write one. Emotionally, she may have seemed reserved to some because she showed little to no emotion…except of course if she was telling you a story, then her face was full of expression.
Aunt Carolina was a true patriot. Now she would be the first person to tell you that she served her country by training as a teletype operator and that most of her three years of enlisted time was spent playing basketball and softball for the Army, they even won a few championship tournaments! She was an excellent athlete in high school and had seriously considered becoming a gym teacher but the cost of college was too much so she decided to "Be All You Can Be" and let the Army pay for her college. However, when she ended her service in 1960, she decided to find work instead of school. That said, if she came across something that had an American Flag on it, she bought it. She was so thrilled when she received an invitation to attend the dedication for the "Women in Military Service" in Washington DC in 1997, to honor the 2 million women who had served in the military. It wasn't that her Army service was so special, it was that she had served in the Army and that was so special to her.
I spent the past few weeks going through Aunt Carolina's photo albums and her office paperwork. I learned a lot about her, things I never knew. I did confirmed however, that under that tough exterior was a very kind, gentle and soft---hearted woman. Like the fact that she had a piano and had some interest in learning to play but then decided to donate the piano to the North County Blind Center so that blind children and adults could learn to play the piano. That her check register was filled with donations to support veterans and animals. That she coached Bobby Sox softball in Vista for over seven years because she loved the game! That she had a collection of pennies that weighed over 40 pounds. That she had a very unique way to roll plastic bags from the grocery store so as to take up less space in the kitchen drawer. That when she found out her neighbors granddaughter, had never colored eggs, Aunt Carolina set time aside to fix an Easter basket and get eggs boiled and food coloring ready to show this young girl the ritual of coloring Easter eggs. That she was a poet and had a stash of love sonnets written in her own hand, all very deep and insightful, who knew?
She was a quiet woman who enjoyed her solitude; loved to bake and cook, try new recipes all the time; and she reserved time each day to work on her puzzles or on one of her many projects around the house. That is unless, she was in the mood to go to one of the local casinos, then all work came to a halt and it was off to the penny machines. She loved to travel, cruises especially because she loved being catered to and meeting new people was always a highlight of each cruise.
As a family, we each carry memories of our time spent with Carolina and for her friends, neighbors, and co-workers, I am sure Maria will cross your mind from time to time. And when she does, remember her smile, remember her jokes, remember how she loved to watch the Chargers play, remember that even though she was retired, she'd still go to most every luncheon each month especially to help organize the Holiday luncheon, remember how she never really won at the horse races but still loved to make a bet, remember that she was usually a winner at the penny machines, remember that the Dollar store was where she would find all sorts of goodies, remember that travel was her passion, remember that she loved the oldies and could sing each and every song, remember that she loved to dance, remember that she could fix almost anything with glue, tape, plastic twist ties, or PVC piping. She would've made a great engineer! Remember that she truly loved her family, she just didn't always know how to show it.
Each of us have probably wished that when our times comes, that we will be remembered fondly by our loved ones and friends. A testament to our life, that we were successful or blessed with other riches. Well, I ask you now to remember Carolina your sister, your aunt, remember Maria your friend for the good in her life, as we each want to be remembered, for the life we have lived.