PATRICIO “PAT” A. GONZALEZ
PHARR - Patricio “Pat” A. Gonzalez, 96, entered eternal rest on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at Amara Hospice.
Pat was born in Pharr, Texas, on March 17, 1924, which always made St. Patrick’s Day a memorable holiday, especially as his mother was half Irish.
His family was among the first to reside in Pharr, and his parents were founding members of La Trinidad United Methodist Church. Pat attended Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School until the age of 16 when he joined the National Youth Administration. This federally-funded program provided education and job training in welding, mechanics, and engineering. Through his training, Pat achieved a “master welder” title and held a lucrative job at shipyards in Bremerton, Washington. Upon his 18th birthday, he was obligated to return to South Texas and register for the draft, where he then enlisted in the U.S. Army.
During World War II, Pat proudly served our nation from 1942 to 1945 in New Guinea, the Leyte Gulf, and the Philippine Islands. Due to his pre-war experience, he was part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 46th Construction Battalion, which was in charge of building landing fields for fighter planes overseas. Postwar, he and his unit were stationed in Sendai, Japan, until 1946 to rebuild critical infrastructure during the Occupation of Japan. Pat held a military ranking of Technician Fourth Grade (TEC-4) for his specialized expertise and received unit commendations for good conduct. Upon arriving home safe
Upon arriving home safely, Pat studied Auto Diesel Mechanics in Tennessee, where he earned a diploma from the Nashville Auto-Diesel College in 1946. When he returned to the Rio Grande Valley, he reconnected with his childhood friend, Dan Ramirez, meeting Dan’s younger sister, Nora Ramirez, at a Methodist Youth Fellowship function. Soon after, Pat and Nora began dating, and the couple married on June 1, 1952, at La Trinidad United Methodist Church.
Pat was always very forward-thinking in education and business. He supported Nora’s collegiate endeavors and her pursuit of a Master’s Degree in the 1960s, and together they raised three sons: Omar, Andre and Daniel.
In the late 1950s, Pat worked at Hub Auto Supply then opened his own business Rio Auto Parts. He invested in a street block on North Cage in 1966 and co-founded Pharr Auto Parts alongside his nephew, Oscar Gonzalez, and family friend, Ponciano Perez. He was always willing to help diagnose customers’ vehicular problems, and he would often open up the shop after hours and on weekends whenever anyone needed his help. In 1979, Pat decided to expand the auto parts shop into a full-service garage now known as Car Check Auto Service, which he managed for decades until his later years when his youngest son took over the family business.
On Sunday mornings, Pat and Nora would faithfully attend church services at La Trinidad, where they would wear color-coordinating outfits and sit in the firstrow pew alongside Pat’s siblings and their families.
Pat enjoyed traveling with family and friends, playing his guitar, and attending any function where he could dance the night away with his beloved Nora. The two were always among the several iconic dance couples at these functions.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Pat was a member of The Kiwanis Club, a service organization helping the community. Pat and Nora were loyal PSJA and PSJA North supporters for more than six decades, holding season tickets on the 50-yard line for Friday night football games. He would camp out half a day in advance of the annual season ticket sale to be at the front of the line to reserve their coveted seats, even traveling to all the away games.
Pat and Nora would often be seen at PSJA community events, and he regularly participated in Veteran’s Day ceremonies and city parades. He also supported several non-profit organizations that provided aid to wounded veterans and military families.
He was always in attendance for special occasions, school events, and family milestones, no matter how small or how far. A man of integrity and honor, Pat was a member of the “Greatest Generation” and will always be remembered for his positive attitude, sharp mind, and selfless heart.
He was especially proud of being a World War II veteran, and his grandchildren were especially proud to honor his service. His granddaughter Amanda had arranged for Pat to be honored for his military contributions at the Texas State Capitol in 2019 and submitted his Honor Flight application earlier this year. This trip to Washington D.C. to visit the Arlington National Cemetery and see the WWII Memorial during the cherry bloomage was an adventure he had dreamt about for years, but unfortunately, it was canceled due to COVID-19. However, in place of traveling to D.C., Pat traveled to Round Rock, Texas, where his grandson Aaron coordinated a community parade with over 50 vehicles decorated in red, white, and blue. Pat found the gesture especially moving, as younger veterans would stand at their cars to salute him, awaiting the return of a salute from Pat. Even several onlookers were brought to tears.
Pat is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 67 years, Nora R. Gonzalez, and his parents, Domingo Gonzalez and Antonia A. Gonzalez. As the youngest of nine, he was also preceded by his older siblings: Leopoldo, Victor, Marcelo, Juan, Gilberto, Celia, Ernestina, and Ninfa.
Pat is survived by his sons: Dr. Omar R. (Kathy) Gonzalez of Round Rock; Dr. Andre R. (Norma) Gonzalez of McAllen; and Daniel R. (Letty) Gonzalez of McAllen. He leaves behind nine grandchildren: Celeste Marie, Alicia Renee (Matthew Gieringer), Aaron Patrick, Adam Michael, Amanda Danielle, Adrian and Alan Gonzalez, Randy and Angel Segovia; four great-grandchildren: Caden Bradley Gonzalez, Rocco Silas, Milo Noah and Isla Mae Gieringer. He also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews, whom he loved deeply.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., with a 6 p.m. prayer service Monday, October 12, 2020, at Memorial Funeral Home in San Juan. Funeral service will take place at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at Memorial Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow at Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission.
You may view the services on the Car Check Facebook page.
Funeral services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in San Juan.