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GONZALEZ, ERNEST GEORGE Ernest "Ernie" George Gonzalez, born January 1, 1924 died on January 22, 2013 at the age of 89. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Maddy Gonzalez, and four children, Linda Smock-Landsdowne, Susan Wicklund, Ernest "Speedy" Gonzalez and Rachel Gonzalez. He has six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Born in Oatman, AZ, he moved to San Diego as a young boy along with his mother and siblings. He graduated from Sweetwater High School in 1941 where he played varsity baseball and football. After high school, he joined the US Navy where he became one of the first Mexican-American Naval officers. He honorably served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. While stationed in Hawaii, he played baseball for the Navy alongside some of baseball's great legends such as Yogi Berra. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander after serving for 30 years. He became the golf instructor at National City Golf Course for many years and imparted lessons and stories to many generations. In his later years, he tended his garden and grew beautiful roses. Ernest Gonzalez was a tremendous athlete and a great provider for his family. He loved music and could name all of the greats from the Big-Band Era. He encouraged sports, competition and education. He was a masterful story teller and he will be greatly missed. His life might be best summed up from one of his own quotes: "I worked hard, I played hard, and I enjoyed it." A memorial service was held at Glen Abbey Mortuary on Monday, January 28, 2013.


Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 2, 2013
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