Santos “Shorty” Gonzales was born May 21, 1938, in Mercedes (Hidalgo County), the youngest child of Federico and Nieves (Pena) Gonzales.
On Feb. 1, 1958, he married Ernestina De Anda in Rockdale, where they built their lives, raising their children within the community, working for Rockdale ISD and later serving as small business owners before their retirement.
Mr. Gonzales was well respected for his long service to the community of Rockdale and continued to reside within the community until his death.
He adored all things outdoors, devoting many hours to savoring the quiet of hunting, fishing and ranching with his children, grandchildren, and extended family and friends.
Mr. Gonzales devoted the last years of his life to ranching the Sandy Creek Ranch and 4V Ranch.
He died quietly at his home on July 6, 2021, at the age of 83, surrounded by his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Federico and Nieves Gonzales; his wife, Ernestina Gonzales; a sister, Maria Morales; a brother, Nico Gonzalez; a sister-in-law, Aurora Gwen Gonzalez; two nephews, Louis and Richard Gonzales; and a son-in-law, Lyle Dietrich.
Survivors are two sons, Santos Gonzales Jr. and wife Maria of Rockdale, Enriquez Montelongo and wife Dori of Jacksonville, Florida; four daughters, Jo Ann Dietrich, Rose Owens and husband Bradley, Betty Gonzales and wife Janarra, all of Rockdale, Linda Vogelsang and husband Ernest of Tanglewood; and a special niece, Lisa Cooper and husband Tommy.
He is also survived by his many grandchildren, Nieves Woodward and her husband James of Conroe, Michael Owens, Justin Gonzales and his wife Esperanza, and Remington Bell, all of Rockdale, Sonora Vogelsang and Colton Robertson of Tanglewood, Lindsay Wolridge and husband Andrew of Kingwood; and his great-grandchildren, James Andrew Woodward, Madison Marie Gonzales, Aryanna Alonso, Bentley Castillo, and Dean Frank Robertson.
A small private graveside service was held Friday, July 9, to honor Santo’s life and memory before his interment at St. Joseph Cemetery in Rockdale.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that Santos be remembered for his love of the outdoors and devotion to family and friends.