A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Henry went to be with the Lord on June 7, 2023, surrounded by his family. Henry is survived by his wife of 49 years Rachel Gonzales, children Anthony Gonzales (Tiffani) and Amanda Soto (Jose); 3 grandchildren, Ace Gonzales, Axton Gonzales, and Noah Soto.
Henry Anthony Gonzales was born, June 22, 1952, in Lindsay, California, to Enrique Gonzales and Celia Ruiz Gonzales. He is preceded in death by his birth parents. Surviving sisters are Rita Melton and Margie Gonzales.
Throughout school-aged years, Henry attended Lindsay Elementary schools and graduated from Lindsay High School in 1970. While in high school, Henry was a superstar athlete, breaking high school track and field records with his off-the-chart speed, a four-year Varsity track and baseball player and JV and Varsity football player. Henry received the Betty Crocker Homemaker award in high school for his exceptional sewing and cooking skills. After graduating from high school, Henry attended California State University, Fresno from 1970 until 1973 majoring in Sociology.
Following his college years, Henry married his beautiful high school sweetheart, Rachel Felix on March 2, 1974. Henry and Rachel had their first child, Anthony, in 1976. Years later, Henry and Rachel welcomed their second child, Amanda, in 1979.
Henry worked in several occupations throughout his life at Lindsay Olive Growers as a Manufacturing Supplies Manager; Proteus Inc. as a Vocational Educational certified Instructor, teaching Introduction to Computers, in both English and Spanish language and teaching practical skills to help unemployed and disadvantaged individuals obtain permanent, un-subsidized employment. After working in these positions as such, Henry decided to utilize his problem solving, inquisitive mind, and skilled hands in the construction trade as an electrician. Henry studied and learned thoroughly about electrical wiring and safety, transformers, focusing on both residential and commercial wiring. Henry’s passion for teaching led him to become a vocational education teacher, specializing in electrical, thus utilizing his wealth of knowledge from on the job and in the field to help other eager technical students. Henry enhanced his trade skillset and worked in the construction industry coordinating activities of subcontractors to successfully construct numerous homes and turn-key projects. Henry continued to build single-family, multi-residential, remodeling, and additions throughout Tulare County. Henry received his State of California, Division of Apprentice Standards, Electrical Certification.
Following these years of teaching and working in the electrical trade and construction industry, Henry decided to attend Brandman University in 2013 to further his education and finish his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Henry’s “never give up” philosophy and support from his family led him to graduate in 2015 with his B.A. in Sociology. Graduating as a 62-year-old with his college degree was a highlight of his life and proud accomplishment in his upper age. Henry continued to work self-employed in his skilled craft as an electrician utilizing his immense knowledge in the construction industry.
Henry retired from working in his early sixties but never stopped being a handyman, always fixing something around the house even for close family and friends. As a retiree, Henry loved spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Henry’s love for sports in his younger years was passed on to his children and grandchildren. Henry was always watching a ball game, cheering his grandchildren on in their games. Behind the scenes, Henry, also known as ‘Papa’ was always teaching his grandchildren skills or tips about baseball, basketball, and football.
One of his expertise’s was a favorite pastime for Henry, which was barbequing on the grill. Henry was known for his delicious tri-tip, tasty BBQ lemon chicken, mouth watering steaks and ribs, and grilled cowboy potatoes. Henry also loved spending time at Cayucos and Morro Bay. He loved playing golf and enjoyed nature. Henry loved listening to jazz and oldies music in his spare time. Henry and his wife shared many joyous years and memorable wedding anniversaries together.
If Henry were here today, he would say “create the life you desire, filled with joy, love and purpose!” And yes, he did that and more. He lived his life to his fullest potential and left an impact on everyone he encountered with his infectious smile, giving and caring heart. Henry could light up a room every time and is lighting up heaven now. Henry will be deeply missed by all his family and friends. Most importantly, Henry’s legacy will never be forgotten by all that he touched.