Cover photo for Roberto L. Gonzalez Sr.'s Obituary
Roberto L. Gonzalez Sr. Profile Photo
1943 Roberto 2023

Roberto L. Gonzalez Sr.

February 12, 1943 — August 3, 2023

Roberto L. Gonzalez Sr., 80, passed away peacefully surrounded by his devoted wife, honored sons, and precious grandchildren on August 3, 2023, in Austin, Texas after his valiant and courageous battle with stage four stomach cancer. Roberto was born on February 12, 1943, to Guadalupe Gonzalez Sr. and Maria Del Roble Lugo Gonzalez in Brownsville, Texas and resided, for almost the entirety of his life, in San Benito, Texas.

Roberto was a very funny, humble, hardworking, supportive, appreciative, and thoughtful man who believed in helping and serving others, caring for his wife, children, grandchildren, and enjoying life. Over his lifetime he held many titles such as shoe-shine boy, paperboy, taxi driver, soldier, grocery worker, butcher, mechanic, sports fan (San Benito Greyhounds, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Astros, and Fightin’ Texas Aggies), property owner, salesman, barber, investor, business owner, landscaper, accountant, carpenter, roofer, import/export specialist, fence builder, plumber, barbecue grill master, and baker to name a few. But the three titles he cherished and was most proud of was being called “Husband”, “Dad” and “Popo” or “Grandpa”.

He understood early on the importance and value of family, hard work, education, and life. He loved to read, learn, and travel. Little did he know how those three loves would thread his life, bringing unique and amazing opportunities throughout his journey. He enjoyed going to school and learning at Resaca Elementary and Cummings Middle School as part of the Brownsville Independent School District but left after the eighth grade to assist his family as a migrant farm worker gathering fruits and vegetables in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington.

His first airplane ride came because of his commitment to his country and community when he was drafted and became a proud member of the 25th U.S. Army Infantry “Tropical Lightning” in 1966 serving in the Vietnam Conflict. Upon safely returning from Vietnam, he met the love of his life, Lupita Martinez, at a “baile” held at the Brownsville Civic Center in 1967. They loved dancing throughout their lives at “bodas”, “quinces” y “bailes” up and down the Rio Grande Valley listening to musicians such as Roberto Pulido, Little Joe y La Familia, and Los Hermanos Layton.

After marrying his “Prieta Linda” in August of 1968, they had three boys, Roberto Jr. “Bobby” (age 54), Ricardo “Ricky” (age 51), and Ronaldo “Ronnie” (age 47). These “Angelitos” brought them so much joy as they kept them busy with school and sport activities at Dr. Cash Elementary, Ed Downs Elementary, Miller Jordan Intermediate, Berta Cabaza Jr. High and San Benito High. They loved following their boys’ basketball, baseball, track, and football teams, especially the Mighty Greyhounds football seasons from 1991-1993, led by their son Ronnie who played quarterback (#2).

Roberto’s thirst and desire to obtain an education continued upon his return from Vietnam by completing his GED and taking coursework at Texas Southmost College and Texas State Technical College in Harlingen. His dreams of obtaining a college degree were ultimately fulfilled via his sons who all obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University-College Station, and doctorates awarded to two of his sons from Lamar University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

He loved to drive and see new places and things. He never had the opportunity to have his own RV, but it did not stop him from traveling to over thirty-five states in the U.S. including Hawaii and over fifteen countries throughout the world such as Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Denmark, and Russia. His favorite road trip however was his multi annual “Texas Tour” to Navasota, Austin, and San Antonio to visit his wonderful grandchildren.

He loved to tell and play jokes. He enjoyed drinking his “cafecito” with his San Benito McDonald’s buddies every morning that he was in town. He relished some good barbacoa, fajitas, tripas, menudo, tamales, enchiladas, chile relleno, pan dulce, arroz y frijoles and his ultimate favorite, “mole”. He cherished the time he would spend alongside his military friends and Veterans (including annual Army 25th Infantry reunions). He found pleasure in throwing his fishing pole into any body of water or spending leisure time on the beach at South Padre Island. He took pride in his craftsmanship when working or building things with his tools. He enjoyed watching a good football game on TV, especially if it involved his beloved Dallas Cowboys or Fightin’ Texas Aggies! He enjoyed festivals, carnivals, parades, or just a good church “kermes”, especially if it had a “corny” dog or funnel cake. He would go out of his way to find a good ‘ol fashioned burger or raspa that would mirror the Whiz Burger that used to be located at the corner of West Robertson and Corral streets in San Benito. There is not a pie nor ice cream (Hygeia Harlingen), or banana split that he would not attempt to try no matter the size or location. He loved holidays, barbecues, and family gatherings, where games, prizes, piñatas, and music were part of the day’s events. Walking, bicycling, exercising, camping, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and exploring nature were other hobbies enjoyed when opportunities arose.

When he began his battle with cancer, he noted to his wife and kids that he had “lived a very blessed life. I have seen and done things that I never thought I would ever do. I have been to places I only dreamed of. God has allowed me to live life longer than my loving mother and hardworking father. I laughed and enjoyed life despite hardships and challenges that life threw at me. I have three wonderful and supportive Aggie daughters-in-law who truly are my daughters (Katherine, Lorelei, & Myra), who love my boys. I have six amazing, and wonderful grandchildren who have brought me so much laughter and joy and I know will do wonderful things in the future. I have three boys that have taken me places, shared, and made special memories, and have made me so proud that I could not ask for more. And my savior Jesus Christ blessed me with an amazing, loving, caring, and supportive wife who has been by my side through thick and thin for over 53 years. I will fight and try to do my best to beat this, but I am appreciative that the Lord has been very good to me and your mother. I am at peace. I am very grateful. I am very blessed.”

Left to treasure Roberto’s memory is his loving spouse of fifty-three years of marriage, Guadalupe “Lupita”, his three “Aggielitos”, Roberto Jr. (Katherine), Ricardo “Ricky” (Lorelei), and Ronaldo “Ronnie” (Myra); his six cherished grandchildren, Olivia Lauren & Sophia Camille (Roberto & Katherine), Ricardo Xavier “Xavi” & Cristian Isaiah (Ricardo & Lorelei), and Ariana Lizette & Ava Gabrielle (Ronnie & Myra); his siblings Guadalupe “Pito”, Jesus “Jesse”, Valentin, Irma, Abraham, and Ruben “Pepe”; over 10 sisters and brothers-in-law; and over 70 nephews, nieces, and cousins who reside throughout Texas and the United States.

He will be rejoining his parents, who preceded him in death, Guadalupe Sr. and Maria Del Roble Lugo; his father and mother-in-law, Salome Sr. and Librada Martinez; siblings, Gloria and Rolando; several sisters and brothers-in-law; numerous “Brothers” of the Vietnam Conflict and other “Brothers and Sisters of the Armed Services” who gave their lives for our freedom; and hundreds of friends, compadres, campañeros, and amigos whom the Good Lord has placed before him along his life journey of eighty years.

The family wishes to express their most heartfelt gratitude to the staff, employees, members, and administration of Capital Metro Austin, the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, the Sisters’ of Charity of the Incarnate Word-San Antonio, and Navasota Independent School District for their unwavering support, prayers, and genuine concern during his battle with cancer.

The family would like to thank Ms. Stephanie Long, J.D., for her counsel, support, and legal expertise. Additionally, they would like to note the support, assistance, and care of the Buck Ashcroft San Benito Funeral Home in San Benito Texas. The graciousness of the Catholic Daughters of San Benito and Harlingen, Texas. As well as the continued guidance and religious support of Fr. Ricardo Guerra, OMI.

A special thanks to the staff, nurses, and physicians at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas in Austin, and the Veterans’ Administration National, State, and Local offices. Additionally, Roberto’s family would like to thank Drs. Goodgame, Tang, & Aragón, and their amazing staff of nurses and clinicians. We also want to be sure to recognize the superb work and support of the Chemotherapy Clinic at Dell Seton Medical Center. Compassus-Austin for all of their nurses (Paige, Stephanie, Christian, Andres, Fifi) and support staff (Chloe and Kat). Prayers and thoughts will be in our hearts for all the work that they do each day to care for other families who are going through similar challenges and their respective courageous battles against Cancer.

Thank you to all for your prayers, love, and support during this very difficult time.

If you wish to support and assist other Vietnam Veterans, Roberto would be appreciative and honored if you decided to donate to either of the following non-profit organizations: Vietnam Veterans Association at https://vva.org/donate/; Disabled American Veterans at help.dav.org.

The Gonzalez family will receive friends and family on Monday, August 7, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home in San Benito, Texas.  A recitation of the Holy Rosary will begin at 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Monday evening, August 7, 2023. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Tuesday morning, August 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Benedict Catholic Church (351 South Bowie Street, San Benito, Texas 78586). Military honors will be conducted at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, in San Antonio, Texas where Roberto requested that he be interred. Ceremonies for his final resting are forth coming.

Blessed and honored to give the eulogy at the funeral service will be his son Ricardo Gonzalez.

Honored to serve as pallbearers are Roberto Gonzalez Jr., Ricardo Gonzalez, Ronaldo “Ronnie” Gonzalez, Ricardo Xavier “Xavi” Gonzalez, Cristian Isaiah Gonzalez, and Luis Cantu Jr.

Honorary pallbearers are Salome “Chale” Martinez Jr., Juan S. Martinez, Ramiro “Joe” Moreno, Oscar Moreno, Guadalupe “Lupito” Gonzalez III, Hector Moreno, Carlos Lopez, and Raul “Rulo” Gonzalez.

Honored to serve as readers during the mass ceremony will be Olivia Lauren Gonzalez, Sophia Camille Gonzalez, Ariana Lizette Gonzalez, Ava Gabrielle Gonzalez, Ricardo Xavier Gonzalez, and Cristian Isaiah Gonzalez.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Family present for visitation

Monday, August 7, 2023

11:00am - 4:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Monday, August 7, 2023

11:00am - 9:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary

Monday, August 7, 2023

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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Interment

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Starts at 10:15 am (Central time)

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery

1520 Harry Wurzbach Road, San Antonio, TX 78209

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