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  • "I will miss you both. Aunt Barbara, you were such a special..."
    - Kathy Vergakis
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    - Cheryl Blackmon
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Ralph Edward Gonzales was born February 9, 1925 in Beaumont, California. He died October 16, 2012 at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Wilmington, NC after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by his parents Emanuel Gonzales and Luisa Gonzales of California.

Ralph was a honored elder of the Pala Mission Band of Indians. The tribe is located in northern San Diego County, California. The majority of enrolled members live on a 12,0000 acres reservation established for Cupenos and Luiseno Indians, who consider to be one proud people-Pala.

Ralph grew up on the reservation and graduated from Beaumont High School were he was noted for his dancing and outgoing personality. After high school he enlisted in the Army for two years. After discharge from the Army he wanted to travel and enlisted in the Air Force. During his Air Force career he worked on jet engines and traveled the world, serving his country during WWll, The Korean Conflict, and Viet-Nam. While in the Air Force Ralph was awarded The Air Force Commendation Medal. Ralph completed his Air Force career at Seymour Johnson AFB, Goldsboro NC where he met his wife of 33 years Barbara.

Barbara Ann Gonzales was born May 11, 1942 in Wayne County, NC. She died January 2, 2013 after a lengthy illness at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Goldsboro NC.

She was preceded in death by her parents Bennie L Capps and Roberta Ballree Capps of Wayne County, NC.

Barbara graduated from Goldsboro High School. After graduation she worked in the area and the Base Exchange at Seymour Johnson AFB.

Ralph and Barbara bought land in Surf City and on week-ends they would go down and clear the lot themselves. After several months of hard work they were able to move to their new home near the beach. The beach area was perfect for Ralph and Barbara.

He enjoyed golf and would do so every chance he got. She enjoyed the outside working in her garden and doing crafts. Ralph got a job at the Federal Building Court House and enjoyed telling stories about the filming of Matlock.

Ralph and Barbara loved their community and were active in the Moose Lodge and VFW were they both served as officers. Barbara was recognized for volunteer service by the Moose Lodge in 2009. For many years Ralph and Barbara volunteered with the Topsail island Turtle Rescue Nesting Program.

With Barbara and the VFW's help Ralph was able to go on the Freedom Flight to Washington, DC. He cherished this opportunity and he appreciated those who volunteered time and efforts to make this happen.

Ralph and Barbara's favorite activity was to sit on their front porch with the puppies, Mojo and Sassy and their cat Wendy. Chatting with the next door neighbors and waving at the cars that drove by. They enjoyed spending time with each other and seldom did you see one without the other. They are together once more.

Ralph is survived by his grandchildren Khara, Zachary, Tony and his wife Teresa, Dan and his wife Brianne, Dax and Chad, his children Micky and Mike and wife Evelyn, his great-grandchildren Mark, Brayden and Paxton, and sister Ester.

Barbara is survived by her brother Benny and wife Annie and their children.

Special thanks and appreciation to: New Hanover Medical Center doctors, nurses and staff, The Lower Cape Fear Hospice. Home Instead. Wayne Memorial Hospital doctors, nurses and staff. Woodberry Rehab Center and Willow Creek Rehab Center.

A private graveside service for Mr. Gonzales will be held at Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery, Jacksonville, NC, with military honors accorded by a United States Air Force Honor Guard from Seymour - Johnson Air Force Base.

A memorial service for Ralph and Barbara will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 26, 2013, at Andrews Mortuary Hampstead Chapel, 17750 Highway 17 North, Hampstead, NC, with Rev. Don Meyers officiating.

The family will receive friends from 1-2 pm Saturday at the mortuary.

In lieu of flowers contributions to VFW, Moose Lodge or Turtle Rescue of Topsail Island would be appreciated.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.andrewsmortuary.com

Andrews Hampstead Chapel Service

Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com

Published in the Wilmington Star-News from Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, 2013
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