Obituary of Luis Alfredo Gonzalez
GONZALEZ, Luis Alfredo, known to his loved ones by many nicknames, “Viejo,” “Daddy,” “Papa,” “Abuelo,” “Brodero,” “Tio,” “Chato,” and “Alfredito,” was born on May 29, 1938, the only son of Luis Alfredo and Celmira Gonzalez. His parents also had 4 daughters and he was the third child born, giving him 2 older sisters, Stellia and Milena, and 2 younger sisters, Amparo and Pochi. At age 21, he decided to leave his home and immigrate to the United States with a friend. It turned out to be a wonderful decision because like the bumblebees and the hummingbirds that pollinate the flowers and the fruit of the Earth, he too brought with him a light and a love that was spread across this land and touched many, many souls. There was not a person who crossed his path that did not walk away with a smile and the feeling of having been blessed. As God’s plan continued to unfold, our father, always being able to chat with whoever was near him, struck up conversation with the person sitting next to him on the plane. From that moment on, they became friends. As “fate” would have it, our grandmother, Emilia, accompanied a friend to the airport to pick up this young man our father met. Our father met our grandmother and she helped him and the other 2 young men find a place to live. A couple of months later, our mother immigrated from Colombia and through Emilia, our parents met and fell in love. Unbeknownst to our mother, sitting around the dining room table, our father announced to our grandmother that he and our mother were getting married. On December 8, 1962, the story of our richly blessed and entangled lives began. There in Miami, he worked various jobs as our mother stayed home to watch us, their 2 children. He worked in a factory first, then as a truck driver for Lays Potato Chips, and then as a milk man for Wholesome Milk. Finally, he became a sales representative for Nabisco. Our father loved his job, not only because it was one that gave him the flexibility and freedom that he loved, but also because he was not the kind of man who could sit at a desk all day. It also allowed him to travel all over and encounter new people every day. He was well loved by all those who knew him. My brother and I loved going to work with him to watch and help, while also learning many things from him like work ethic, graciousness, and manners. He was incredibly polite, a true gentleman through and through. He went on to receive many awards from Nabisco for being top salesman and continued to work there until he retired in 1995. Nabisco is what brought us to Tampa where he bought our home in Cherry Creek. We lived there for many years and became friends with lots of wonderful families. Our father was full of life and loved to laugh. Telling jokes and making others laugh is something he was well known for. He was also known for his passion for music. He always had a very large collection of records, tapes, cd’s, and digital music that had to always travel with him. Every weekend, we were woken to the sound of his music playing. When they were together, he and his brother-in-law, Eduardo, would stay up the entire night listening to music, sometimes at volumes that my mother, brother, and I would not appreciate because as the night went on and the drinks were poured, somehow, their hearing seemed to decrease. Our father also loved fishing. He took many chartered fishing trips with family and friends. Some of our fondest memories are the 4 of us getting up at the crack of dawn or even just going late at night to the old Gandy Bridge and fishing right there just below the road as the cars sped by. Another thing he always loved to do was barbeque. He loved putting any kind of meat on the grill and sharing meals with family and friends. Just about every weekend, our whole family would get together for picnics. Wonderful memories were made on those occasions because we were all so close. He loved relaxing in front of the TV with our mom at his side, watching old movies, Westerns, soccer and football games, and we mustn’t forget the latest Colombian soap opera he and his mom and sister would become obsessed with. He and our mother had many, many loving friends that they met along their life, but the special bonds they had with their friends, Sonia and Casper Johnson, as well as Tere and Jorge Dominguez were rare and beautiful ones. The 3 couples knew each other for years, took many vacations together, and shared intimate moments of their lives with each other. Whenever possible, up to 3 times a week even, they would get together to have dinner and play cards. I have heard many stories of those times, of jokes and outright arguments since it was always boys versus girls. The stories were hilarious and I often thought that I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at some of those gatherings. 60 years from his arrival to the United States, our father’s deeply rooted seeds of love have spread and branched out in many directions. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Neny; and his proud children, Juan and Patricia; their respective spouses, Liz Gonzalez and Dino Labbadia; his beloved grandchildren, Cristina, Nicholas, Alyssa, Matthew, and Anthony Labbadia; his 4 sisters, Stellia, Milena, Amparo, and Pochi; his sister-in-law; 3 remaining brothers-in-law; several cousins and their families; and a long line of nieces and nephews who he treated as children of his own. Our father was incredibly loved and respected by everyone who knew him and we were all blessed to have been part of his life and touched by his love and gentle ways. Our family is impressively large and the only thing comparable to that is the amount of friends and even acquaintances who also felt just as loved and honored to have known him. No matter what the occasion, gathering, or function, everything he did had to include his family and/or friends because it was in those moments that he was his happiest. My brother and I couldn’t feel more proud and honored to have been his children and we ask that you pray for his soul and for peace and strength for our mother. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm on March 16, 2019 at St. Paul Catholic Church. A reception is to follow in the family center at the church from 3:00 pm-6:00 pm.