Tomas D. Gonzalez, 88, of Sunnyside died on Sunday, April 26, 2009.
He was born Feb. 23, 1921 in Borracho, Texas in the county of Presidio, the son of Cruz and Laura (Domingues) Gonzalez.
He was raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, where he learned his trade of buying and selling with minimal education.
In his early 20s he moved back to Texas. After many years he then traveled through out the U.S. working in field labor as he made his way to Washington, where he lived out the rest of his life.
In the 30 plus years that he lived in the Outlook and Sunnyside areas, he worked in agriculture such as asparagus, grapes, cherries, and apples. He was best known for his own garden. He had a green thumb that helped him grow large watermelons, squash, tomatoes and the hottest jalapenos in the area. He sold and delivered locally and all the way into Oregon.
He was never too tired to stay home. His daily naps refreshed him. He was always on the go. That's when we realized he needed a cell phone to stay in touch with his friends and family. There was never a place that he was not able to go and make a friend. The sales yard, auctions, restaurants, stores and even the local credit union. Many people adopted him as their own father, grandfather or just another member of their family, which made errands hard to do because he had to stop and chat with everyone.
He was always there to give out a helping hand to those in need. Many people came to him for massages when they were feeling ill or sore. He always offered to give them a ride to the doctor's office or wherever they needed to go and rest.
People loved his food. He was a great cook. He was hired by many to cater their events with authentic Mexican food. He was especially famous for cooking a whole pig in the barbecue pit. He tried to pass the gift on to his children but it just didn't taste as good.
Even though he was a very busy man, he always made time to spend time with the grandchildren and teach them what he knew. He showed them how to grow and tend to a garden and enjoyed telling them stories about his childhood and growing up.
He is survived by his children, Cruz (Guillermo Jr.) Garcia of Pasco, Laura (Leonel) Gonzalez of Athens, Ala., Tomas D. (Elizabeth) Gonzalez of Prosser, Deborah Duran of West Richland; four step-children, Consuelo (Pedro) Mendoza of Athena Ala., Mike (Linda) Castaneda, Ruben (Lucila) Enriquez, and Martin Enriquez. He is also survived by five children from a previous marriage, Aida Frias of Midland, Texas, Jose Librado Gonzalez of Leon, Mexico, Maria Fe Villa of Phoenix, Ariz., Maria Dolores Lujan of Ojinaga, Mex., and Daniel Gonzalez of Distritco Federal, Mexico; 41 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.
Viewing and visitation will be held on Thursday, April 30, 2009, from noon to 8 p.m., at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Funeral services will be held Friday, May 1, 2009, at 9:30 a.m., at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside, with burial to follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside.
Those wishing to share their memories or sign Mr. Gonzalez's online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhmesmith.com
Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.