STEVENSVILLE — Raymond “Si” Gonzalez passed away on Thursday, March 8, 2018, at The Living Centre in Stevensville. Raymond was 96 years old. Si is survived by his wife, Dora and three children, Rita Clark, John Gonzalez and Roberta LeCoure. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren and a brother, Ray Gonzalez, a sister, Donna Gandara and many nieces and nephews.
Si was born to Refugio and Librada Gonzalez on Aug. 27, 1921, in Roswell, New Mexico. Si came to Stevensville with his parents in 1929 and lived here all these years. He went to elementary school at Lone Rock School and graduated from Stevensville High School in 1941. He attended the University of Montana and at that time was recruited for the Navy Aviator Program. Upon completing his training he was inducted into the Navy. He continued his flight training until Aug. 15, 1944, when his squadron was formally commissioned and given the VF88. In February 1945 Si was deployed on the USS Yorktown to the Pacific Theater. On Si’s intial engagement of the enemy, he was shot down off the coast of Japan. After nine hours he was rescued by a destroyer. He then continued to fly a total of 49 missions.
On Feb. 16, 1946, Si married Josephine “Dora” Garcia. They lived in the Three Mile area raising their three children, Rita, John and Roberta. Si was a dairy farmer for 24 years until he sold the farm and bought the Mini Market in Stevensville. Si was a big supporter of the Stevensville School Athletic programs. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping with family. His passion for woodworking has provided his family with lasting memories and heirlooms.
Visitation will be held on Monday, March 12, at the St. Mary’s Mission Catholic Church from 4 until 7 p.m. A vigil service will begin at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 13, at 11 a.m. at the church. Interment with military honors will follow at Riverside Cemetery. A reception will follow the committal back at the parish’s family center. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at whitesittfuneralhome.com.