• Henry Von Gonten

Henry Von Gonten

Services for Henry Von Gonten were held Monday, July 8, 2024.

Henry was born Dec. 8, 1931, in Haskell, to Charles Dee and Emma Louise (Praesel) Von Gonten.

The family moved to Thrall where Henry, his brother Charles and sister Helen attended school. In the midst of moves around the area, Henry was confirmed at Von Gonten


He started working on vehicles when he was young and he taught himself the ins and outs of all kinds of engines. He bought his first truck at age 14 and quit school so that he could go to work hauling grain, picking and pulling cotton.

He was proud to later get his GED, although friends and family always knew he was gifted with an engineering mind.

Henry joined the National Guard in 1950 and, in the midst of his training drills and work, he started dating Margaret Ann Adams in 1952. He married his lady on April 29, 1954, and shipped off t o G ermany t o w ork o n tanks two weeks later.

Margaret joined him there in October of the same year. They returned to the states in November 1955, where Henry worked for his uncle for many years driving a bulldozer and tractor and working as a mechanic.

Once back from Germany, Henry and Margaret were happy to add two children to their family, Kenneth Wayne Von Gonten, born Nov. 1, 1956, and Debra Ann (Von Gonten) Rolan born Oct. 11, 1959. They were later grateful to add Debra (Weiss) Von Gonten and Kevin Rolan to the family through marriage.

Henry loved being Pawpaw to his five grandkids and nine great-grandkids and they brought the biggest smiles to his face.

Henry was always working on something, fixing tractors and vehicles. He was a jack of all trades and a master mechanic.

Necessity is the father of invention, and Henry rigged and built the tools and equipment to fit his needs. His daughter called him the “tractor whisperer” and his granddaughter always said that Pawpaw could fix anything.

Until recent years, Henry was always up for a rousing game of dominoes or volleyball, playing the latter well into his 70s. Also, he could often be found in his garden or fishing with his family or friends.

Henry and Margaret reached the milestone of 70 years of marriage on April 29 of this year and were able to celebrate this happy achievement surrounded by their family.

He was preceded in death by parents Charles Dee and Emma Louise Von Gonten, brother Charles Von Gonten, sister Helen (Von Gonten) Hammonds, son Kenneth Wayne Von Gonten, and grandson Cory Wayne Menges.

He is survived by wife Margaret Ann, daughter Debby (and Kevin) Rolan, daughter-in-law Debbie Von Gonten, grandchildren Deanna (and Jake) Sallee, Matthew (and Kristen) Von Gonten, Wesley (and Tara) Rolan, Zachary (and Taylor) Rolan, great-grandchildren Henry Judah and Joyanna Brooke Sallee, Lucienne Ruth and Charles Kenneth Von Gonten, Bryce Harlen (and Alanna) Rolan, Wyatt Grace and Cory Jayne Rolan, Ruth Leigh and Samuel Henry Rolan.

Thank you to the Temple VA Hospital, Regency Manor and Rockdale Estates Nursing Homes and Ascension Seton Williamson County for their care and hospitality in the past month.

Pallbearers were Wesley Rolan, Zachary Rolan, Matthew Von Gonten, Jake Sallee, Jason Gebhart and Stanley Stork.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salty Cemetery Association (230 CR 447, Thorndale, TX 76577) or the American Cancer Society.

Arrangements by Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home, P.O. Drawer 1417, Rockdale, TX 76567, 512-446-5454.

Rockdale Reporter

221 E. Cameron Ave
Rockdale, TX 76567