Daniel Julio Gonzalez was born April 22, 1930, in Klamath Falls, Oregon to Julio and Amalia “Molly” (Lopez) Gonzalez. He was raised in Algoma and was the firstborn of 6 brothers and 2 sisters. He attended Chiloquin High and graduated from Klamath Union High School.
When Dan was 16, he enlisted in the National Guard, then served in the United States Navy during the Korean War from 1950-53. He served on the USS Vammen, (DE-644), until their ship was torpedoed, and they lost 8-men that day. The USS Missouri escorted them back to the States, taking 31 days to return to dock. He received the Korean Defense Service Medal and the American Defense Service Medal.
Honorably discharged, he traveled to Alaska and worked as part of a fishing crew. It was there that he met his wife, Florence (Davis) Gonzalez. They were married in July 1954 and moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon. Together they had six daughters.
He loved camping, hunting, fishing, traveling and country music. His (and his brother-in-law, Bill’s) “theme” song was “Cowboys Like Us” by George Strait. Together they sure did have fun. Whenever Dan needed medical advice he would call on Dr. Bill and together they would decide a course of treatment if any was needed. In the Navy he traveled to Hawaii, Gaum, Korea and Japan. Afterwards, he traveled across the United States, Mexico and Canada where he worked on oil rigs and later worked in construction.
Dan was a member of the NRA and the American Legions. He often donated to the Wounded Warriors Project and other organizations making sure to help others in need.
In 1982, he was working on the new addition to the VA Hospital in Seattle and it was reported that he had been killed in an accident when the cement line he was on threw him 150 feet. The next day when he went to retrieve his newspaper, his neighbor showed him the article saying that he had died. Dan replied with a smile, “Well, dammit, I guess I better go lay down.”
Dan will be remembered for helping his neighbors, young and old. When his daughter asked why he had 5 lawn mowers, he replied “Those are for the old people.”
“Old people!? Dad, you’re 85 years old, how old are the old people?”
He replied, “Tom is 99 and Betty is 92 and they can’t mow their own lawns anymore, so they gave me their lawn mowers and I cut their grass for them.”
A special thank you to his neighbor Liz Babnick for helping him write the article for the “American Legion: Department of Oregon” book and for helping in the emergency. Thank you to all his neighbors Bonnie, Rico, friends and the VA medical team that cared and looked after him. Dan lived a colorful life and he will be missed.
Dan is survived by his daughters, Deena, Dannette, Dannelle, Vicki, Dani, Sandra and step-son, Robert; his other children, Marlita, Daniel and David; 23 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, his brothers, Charlie, John, Julio, David and sister, Anita, numerous nieces, nephews, neighbors, and longtime friends Lenora and Johnny McClean.
He is proceeded in death by his parents; sister and brother-in-law, Rebecca and William Wilder; sister-in-law, Jimmye Gonzalez; brother and sister-in-law, Benjamin and Mildred Gonzalez; grandchildren: Julio, Cassandra, and Marcus; wife, Florence Gonzalez; and companion, Pearl Sullivan.
After saying goodbye to his family, Dan passed away peacefully on November 8, 2018, at the VA Hospital, in Portland, with his daughter Vicki at his side.
Private cremation rites were held on November 9, 2018 and a private burial at sea will follow. A celebration of life will be held in 2019.