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Bertha Alicia Gonzalez

1929 - 2019
Bertha Alicia Gonzalez Obituary
Bertha Alicia Gonzalez January 6, 1929 - August 12, 2019 Chula Vista The voyage for Bertha Alicia Gonzalez ended Monday, August 12, 2019, at home filled with her family and friends.Bertha Alicia Gonzalez was born in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico on January 6, 1929. As a single mother, she moved to Mexico City in 1951 with her younger sister, Martha, and her daughter, Luz Elena. In 1956, she embarked on a new life to Compton, California, the hub of Los Angeles with her sister, daughter, and son Hector Benjamin. In 1957, she celebrated the birth of Marie Alicia.Although Bertha Alicia Gonzalez was tireless and diligent, the heavy Los Angeles smog overwhelmed her asthma, and in 1962 she continued her journey to the seaside city of Chula Vista, California. She married her lifelong love, el Licenciado Jorge Diez de Bonilla Gutierrez. In 1965, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Gabriela, and again in 1966 with the birth of Juan David.Bertha Alicia Gonzalez was a notable woman of vast accomplishments throughout her life and distinguished career. Although she was a woman small in stature, her courage, and unyielding perseverance to conquer overwhelming obstacles proved her immense power and influence throughout the business and political community. With love and grace, she fulfilled a lifetime commitment to defend and support the honor, dignity, and rights of her fellow man and community. She says that "one is not measured from the ground up, but rather from their shoulders to sky and by the size of their heart".From very humble beginnings, in 1962 she opened a second-hand store, the California Post, next to the Post Office in San Ysidro, California. At that time, all immigrants were required to notify the Immigration and Naturalization Service of their address to maintain their immigration status. Migrant workers would wander into her store where she would fill it out for them for 25 cents. Soon, they began asking if she could also fill out their taxes. The word spread, and she became the haven for virtually all of the migrant workers from the southwestern United States who traversed to Tijuana, Mexico during the weekends. San Ysidro is the patron saint of the farmworker.With her admiration for the back-breaking agricultural laborers, she committed herself to serving their needs. She became a notary public and began preparing their immigration and citizenship applications. During her vast career, she is directly responsible for the immigration and citizenship of over one hundred thousand (100,000) people. At its peak, her tax client base exceeded 4,000 clients per year.Bertha Alicia Gonzalez continued her advocacy throughout her career and is well respected and revered. In 1967, when San Diego City and Sacramento began highway plans that would have devastated San Ysidro, Bertha Alicia Gonzalez persuaded planners to accommodate community and local businesses. Over time, the City of San Diego, Sacramento, the halls of Congress and several US Presidents came to know Bertha Alicia Gonzalez. Because of her noble and commitment to the community, her counsel was sought by many businesses and politicians.Bertha Alicia Gonzalez was instrumental in founding several institutions including the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, the San Ysidro Health Center, MAAC Project, the San Ysidro University, Ahora Now Newspaper, and Las Fiesta Patrias de San Ysidro.Bertha Alicia Gonzalez drew strength and spiritual nourishment from her daily devotion to God and the Virgen de Guadalupe, which she displayed openly and thoughtfully. For over 50 years, she was tireless in volunteering for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and was an ardent supporter. Steadfast as a devout Catholic, she respected all faiths and creeds, Christian, Judaism, Mormon, and Native American. She believed that "one is measured by his character and actions."Despite her vast accomplishments, Bertha Alicia Gonzalez never wavered to listen, talk to or provide comfort and support to anyone she met. Bertha Alicia Gonzalez leaves behind a legacy that lives in the hearts and souls of her 5 children, 15 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great- grandchildren, her sister, family and friends and all who are touched by them. The world has been enriched by the blessing, courage, grace, perseverance, and love bestowed by Bertha Alicia Gonzalez.She lived life the Bertha Alicia Gonzalez way.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Aug. 21, 2019
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