Benjamin (Benny) Michael Gonzales, Bridgeport, Michigan

Barbara P. Frost

Our beloved father, grandfather, and brother passed away at Cartwright Residential Center on Thursday, October 22, 2009. Ben was born on July 5, 1929 in Saginaw, Michigan to Jose M. and Manuela (Almaguer) Gonzales. He was 80 years old.  Ben attended Saginaw Public Schools, graduating from Saginaw High School in 1947.  He served his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.  On June 18, 1955, he married Theresa Lopez at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  She predeceased him on September 15, 1999. Ben worked as a clerk at Kelly’s Department Store for many years.  He then began a 30+ year career at the U.S. Post Office in Saginaw, Michigan.  He was most proud of his work there as the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer.  Ben had a strong work ethic and was a great provider for his family.  He was a devoted Catholic and very active member of his church, serving as an usher and member of various committees.  He also was a volunteer at Valley Lutheran Hospital in Mesa, AZ, and at the Isabella County Commission on Aging in Mt. Pleasant, MI.  He was a strong advocate for education, as evidenced by his membership in the Saginaw LULAC Council #11055 (League of United Latin American Citizens).  He was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Saginaw, and had previously been a member of Sacred Heart parish in Saginaw and St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Bridgeport.  He was proud of, and celebrated his Mexican heritage.  He is survived by his five children; Laura (John Dinse), Mt. Pleasant, MI, James (Julie), Daniel (Trudy), Roland (Tracy Carpenter), all of Saginaw, MI, and Dale (Sue), Clarkston, MI.; nine loving grandchildren, Amber, Katie, Mercedes, Rhiannon, Allyson, Jacob, Nicholas, Gabriella (GiGi) and Antonio; his siblings, Frank (Mary Helen) Gonzales, Sr. Dorena Gonzales, Alice Robison, Rafael Gonzales, Ramiro Gonzales, Raul (Minnie) Gonzales, Maria Elena (Antonio) Moreno, Jesse (Susie) Gonzales, Benny (Linda) Gonzales and Louis (Sharon) Gonzales, and many dear nieces and nephews.  He is also survived by one brother-in-law, Manuel Lopez and sisters-in-law Carmen Lopez and Amelia Lopez, and many cherished compadres and comadres.  Ben was predeceased by his parents, Jose M. and Manuela (Almaguer) Gonzales, his brother, Jose A. Gonzales, mother and father in-laws, Antonio and Maria (Suarez) Lopez, and brother-in-laws Pete, Lawrence, Jesse, Joe, Frank and Louis Lopez, and sister-in-law Carmen Olvera.  Mass of Christian burial (a celebration of Ben’s life) will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 26, 2009 at St. Joseph’s Church, 936 N. Sixth St. in Saginaw.  Rev. Fr. Daniel Anholzer, OFM Cap will officiate.  Entombment will follow in Mt. Olivet Cemetery with military honors conducted under the auspices of American GI Forum. Friends may call to visit at Deisler Funeral Home at 2233 Hemmeter Rd., Saginaw, MI  48603, where the family will be present on Saturday, October 24, 2009 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. and on Sunday, October 25, 2009 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m..  Ben will lie in state at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the funeral Mass.  There will be a prayer service at the funeral home on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a donation to St. Joseph Catholic Church Building Fund. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at the funeral home, church or through www.DeislerFuneralHome.com.