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March 3, 2024

Manuel E. Gonzales, Jr. August 20, 1933 – March 28, 2015

A memorial service will be held at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church at 11:00 A.M., on April 8, 2015, with military honors. A reception will be held at Elks Lodge in Hollister immediately following the service. Donations gladly accepted by the Gonzales family c/o Black Cooper Sander Funeral  Home. For condolences: www.blackcoopersander.com.
 Manuel E. Gonzales Jr, 81, of Hollister, died March 28, 2015, of pancreatic cancer. He peacefully passed away in his home, in the care of his loving family and Hospice.
 Manuel was born on August 20, 1933, in Downey, CA to Manuel H. Gonzales and Laura (Escovedo) Gonzales. He moved to Hollister, then graduated from San Benito County High School in 1952.
 He married Maria Elena Montelongo on May 11, 1957, and they had ten children.
 Through the Cursillo Movement, Manuel formed a deep relationship with God and built lifelong friendships as a result.
 He enjoyed playing the guitar and was honored to perform and sing for Pope John Paul II when he visited Monterey in 1987.
 Manuel was a humble and gracious man. He found peace in his garden, and was especially proud of his 6-foot tomato plants. He made salsa for family and friends alike, including his fellow retirees at the Jovenes de Antano Senior Citizen Center.
 He was also a Boy Scout leader for many years in Hollister, shaping the minds of youths who would become future leaders of the community.
 Manuel was an artist who loved woodcrafting. He designed and painted the Sacred Heart School sign and logo, which is in use today. His special woodworking gift was creating crosses. For many years, he donated the crosses that were given to those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation. He freely gave these masterpieces of faith to inspire hope. Anyone who was blessed to received a cross through the years, please honor him by wearing it to his Service.
 Manuel was a frugal, yet simple man who loved the dollar store. He turned recycling into an art form.
 Manuel worked at the Hollister Ice and Cold Storage for 25 years, and then for another 20 years, finishing his career as Head Caretaker at Calvary Cemetery. In that capacity, he was able to comfort and provide solace to those in their greatest time of need.
 Manuel also served in the National Guard in Korea from June 18,1953 to April 30, 1955.
 Manuel leaves behind his wife, Maria Elena (AKA: Mary) Gonzales, his children, Anna Marie, Carol Anne (George), Beatrice Lynn, Manuel III, Lisa Jane (Bob) Castro, John Joseph, Robert James (Stacey), Mary Jo, 19 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
 He was the eldest of five and is survived by three sisters: Mary Helen Campos of Watsonville, Aurora (Rory) Orabuena of Hollister, and Gloria (Winnie) Adame of Gilroy. He also leaves behind an enormous group of supportive, loving family members including, but not limited to Barbara Silva, Esther Hayhurst, John Williams, and Rebecca Lopez, his favorite sister-in-law, whom he loved dearly.
Manuel was preceded in death by his daughters, Dolores (DD) Gonzales and Roberta Jean (Berta) Gonzales, father, Manuel H. Gonzales, mother, Laura Gonzales and sister Florence Weigens who welcomed him with open arms at Heaven’s gates.
The family would like to thank VNA Hospice for their tender and gentle care during Manuel’s last days.  They would also like to thank all the family and friends who supported  them through this difficult time.

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