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GONZALEZ PROVIDENCIA GONZALEZ A long time resident of Dale City passed away on February 21, 2013. She was born May 4, 1917 to Santiago and Eugenia Velazquez and moved to Dale City 34 years ago. Upon arrival from New York City she immediately continued her political involvement by joining the county Democratic Party. Mrs. Gonzalez was raised on politics. Her father was once the mayor of her native Puerto Rico hometown. She worked the polls, handed out literature, did endless telephoning and encouraged people to register to vote and fulfill their civic responsibility. She campaigned endlessly to complete whatever task was placed in front of her. Provi arrived in this country May 24, 1933 as an exchange nursing student with St. Luke's Hospital. It was there she met her husband Lidio and was married two years later. At the same time she dropped nursing for a career in women's apparel which ultimately led to owning her own manufacturing company. In spite of the grueling hours she found time for community involvement and fund raising. At one point she spent many years with Herman Badillo, a New York congressman, who later became chancellor of City College (CCNY). Provi's fiery spirit goes hand in hand with a desire to give back to the people and the community. As early as 9 years old she was the giving end of the yard stick having met an ill woman who had no money for food. She gave up her lunch and continued on to school with just a slice of bread. This experience shaped her heart. Upon arriving in Dale City she started joining Sister Pauline of Holy Family as they distributed food, a version of Meals on Wheels. It was also how she learned to navigate a town that did not have street signs, stops signs or traffic lights. Her charitable works were numerous. While in New York she raised money for the Catholic Church, gathered toys for impoverished children and an annual drive for shoes for those same children. Her involvement in New York politics centered around her desire to help the Puerto Rican community. Consequently she participated in various civic associations such as the Puerto Rican forum, the annual Puerto Rican parade and the local chapter of "Unificacion Femenina puertorriquena, Inc." The Golden Needles (Aguas De Ono) was her brainchild-a group of seamstresses who did charitable work and annually entered a float in the Puerto Rican parade. One year they won first prize for their Cinderella float. Her proudest achievement, which was close to her heart, being a cancer survivor was the establishment of a NY chapter of Corazones Contra El Cancer (Hearts against cancer), dedicated to fund raiding for cancer research. Provi, being a Hispanic women, never forgot her heritage and consequently as soon as she arrived in Dale City endeavored to meet as many Spanish speaking people ultimately becoming a part of " Casa Hispana". Her desire was for the bigger participation of Hispanics in local politics. Although she spoke Spanish fluently she knew others did not and so at one point she was a volunteer translator in the local courts here in Dale City and Woodbridge. Provi was also involved with the Human Rights commission. Mrs. Gonzalez was very talented with her hands and she belonged to the "Homemakers Extension Group", an arts and craft group who donated their creations to hospitals and raised funds by selling their work at the annual Dale City Recreation Fair. Mrs. Gonzalea was a fun loving person whose busy life never stopped. She organized big picnic outings (about 30 or more) and even bigger yet her monthly Casino trips which started in 1989 and ended in 2008, when she suffered her first stroke. Despite all the things she did at the ripe old age of 75 she became the manager the Dale City Farmer's market. She worked there for 11 years until her daughters Euginia and Lydia insisted she finally retire. In April 2008 she was one of eight women who received the honor of being named Virginia Woman of History for her vast community involvement. Together with family and friends she traveled to Richmond to receive such a prestigious award. She also had been awarded The Catherine Spellane Citizen of the Year Award. Gonzalez is survived by daughters Lydia Mathew-Gonzalez and Eugenia Ibanez her husband Frank, grandchildren: Jim his wife Ann, Valerie her husband Michael, and Hank; great grandchildren: Philip, Tiffany, Rachel and Peter; great great grandchildren Mason, Emily and Elise; and last but not least her beloved dog Miko. Provi also had many great friends and family who will deeply miss and cherish her memory. Friends and Family will gather on Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. at Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home, 4143 Dale Blvd., Dale City, VA 22193. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church, 14160 Ferndale Rd, Dale City, VA at Noon on Friday, March 1, 2013 with interment at Sacred Heart Cemetery, 12975 Purcell Road. Manassas, Va 20110
Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home & Crematory
4143 Dale Blvd.
Dale City, VA 22193
Published in The Washington Post from Feb. 25 to Feb. 26, 2013