SGM Celestino Gonzales (1937 - 2012)

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SGM Celestino Gonzales, USA (Ret), loving husband, son, and father passed away on August 24, 2012. Tino was born on November 28, 1937, in San Jon, New Mexico to Bob and Bacilia Gonzales. He graduated from San Jon High School in 1956. Tino served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Soldier from 1956 to November 1986. While in the Army, he served as a Special Forces Team Leader during two tours in Vietnam earning the Bronze Star Medal with V device (Second Oak Leaf Cluster). During Tino's 30 years of service he served in numerous locations to include Ft. Bragg, North Carolina where he served with the 82nd Airborne and the Special Forces amassing over 250 parachute jumps. After serving with the 82nd Airborne Division, he also served in Okinawa, Germany, and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
His final assignment brought him closer to home where he served as the SGM for the Senior ROTC Program at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico from 1979 to 1986. While at ENMU, he took pride in mentoring, teaching, and training over 250 new officers throughout the years of his service. He was also the ENMU Rifle Team coach where his teams won two national championships in small bore rifle marksmanship.
During his early active duty service time he met and married the love of his life, Maria Lucero from Anton Chico, New Mexico. They quickly established a large family and became the parents to 4 sons and 3 daughters, the oldest Victor Gonzales (Teacher and member of the Texas National Guard lives in El Paso), Nick Gonzales (Retired LTC in San Antonio), Theresa Gonzales (Insurance Manager in Corpus Christi), Tina Gonzales (Teacher in Odessa), Daniel Gonzales (Active duty MAJ at Ft Riley, Kansas), Veronica (Retail Store Manager in San Antonio), and Alex Gonzales ( Active duty MAJ at Ft. Bliss, Texas).
Upon retirement from the Army, Tino completed his Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from ENMU (4 of 7 children also graduated from ENMU) and started working for the New Mexico Probation and Parole Department.
He is survived by his mother, Bacilia Gonzales; his wife, Maria; his brothers and sisters, Bobby, Jimmy, Abe, Gloria, Luchie, and Cecila. He is also survived by his 7 children, Victor and his wife, Mary, Nick and his wife, Regina, Theresa, Tina and her husband, Ralph, Daniel and his wife, Monica, Veronica and her husband, David, and Alex and his wife Brandi. He also had 17 grandchildren.
Arrangements are entrusted to Sunset Funeral Home 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX, 78218, (210) 828-2811.
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Published in the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune on Sept. 5, 2012
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