OBITUARY

Moises Gonzalez

June 27, 1920July 11, 2018
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Moises Gonzalez was born on June 27th, 1920 in Arecibo Puerto Rico and passed away peacefully on July 11, 2018, shortly after his wife of 68 years, Olga Balda Gonzalez. He was a Veteran of WWII where he served in the Army Air Corp as a Technical Sergeant and Hydraulic specialist for the B17 flying fortress. He was one of 6 children, survived only by his sister Aurora. He is also survived by 4 children, 5 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. He worked as a Senior Account Executive for K Line America, Inc. located at Two World Trade Center in Manhattan, NY. He loved his children unconditionally and provided guidance and support and helped out friends and family whenever he could. His hearty laugh, hugs, smile, generosity and wisdom will be missed by all whose lives he touched.

Services will be held on Friday July 27th at Lakeshore Mortuary 1815 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85202. Visitation will begin at 9am, Funeral services will start at 10:30am followed by a committal service at 1pm at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.

In lieu of flowers in his memory donations are suggested to: Alzheimer’s association, Veteran’s association or Brookdale Hospice.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, July 27, 2018
  • Funeral Service Friday, July 27, 2018
REMEMBERING

Moises Gonzalez

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Olga Molinari

July 29, 2018

Thank you Ellen for the pictures you took of Jennifer and I at dad's celebration of life ceremony while she was reading her tribute to her grandfather's life.

Olga Molinari

July 28, 2018

My father's place of work (before retirement) as a Senior Account Executive for the Kerr Agencies ( a division of Kerr Steamship Company Inc) also known as "K-line". He worked on the 99th floor at Two World Trade Center.

Alma Cohen

July 24, 2018

I will always remember Aunt Olga and Uncle Moe fondly. I have many joyous memories growing up of the many weekends that we spent together, as a family, in their Brooklyn house. We enjoyed listening and dancing to Spanish music, and eating delicious Spanish food especially the roasted pigs that Uncle Moe cooked in his backyard. It was a time to celebrate family! Those memories will remain in my heart forever as I say goodbye to my loving Aunt and Uncle.
They will both be missed but the love they had for each other will be everlasting!
May you both Rest In Peace Together.
Love,
Your Niece Alma

Olga Molinari

July 23, 2018

Not sure what year this was taken but mom and dad look so happy and in love that I had to share it.

Olga Molinari

July 23, 2018

Olga and Moises 1976

Olga Molinari

July 23, 2018

Moises will be laid to rest with the love of his life, Olga. A fitting end after almost 69 yrs of marriage (July 23, 1949)per the words of their wedding song(The Anniversary Song by Al Jolsen) since their “love was unaltered by time”:

Edwin and Wanda Ocasio

July 21, 2018

Dear Rosemary, Olga and Joseph and families.
Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your father. I have very fond childhood memories of him and Olga. In our hearts, we know they are together forever. We found this photograph of your parents dated August 1973. What a wonderful looking couple. As I remember Moises loved to dance and had good rhythm.
May the many fond memories help you through this time of grief.
Edwin and Wanda

Lisa Collins Gonzalez

July 18, 2018

Lisa Collins Gonzalez

July 15, 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Olga and Moises

Biography

All of Moises’ children loved him and their mother Olga and will miss them both for the rest of their lives. They are all grateful to have been their children and to have had a father that lived to the ripe old age of 97 and a mother to the age of 92. Though always a strong willed man and very protective all his children, which wasn’t always well received, they realized that he had been through so much throughout his life and that he just wanted to protect them all from harm and at times became a bit overzealous in that quest.

As a young boy Moises had to work at his parents “bodega” or food store at age 7 and also go to school. At age 10 he helped a relative build a house so didn’t have much of a childhood, like most children today.

Moises had two older brothers (David and Roque) that died before him, one in the service and the other of an epileptic seizure. He also had three sisters; Celia (the oldest), Carmen and Aurora. Only his sister Aurora, the youngest of the girls remains.

Moises was born on June 27th 1921 in Arecibo Puerto Rico. He was a WW11 Veteran that served in the army air corp. from Aug 20th 1942 to Oct. 20th 1945 with the 815th bomb squadron. It was suggested that he write his memoirs of the war but perhaps it was a time he preferred to forget, despite its historic significance. He took the pilot’s exam and passed with 100% but decided he didn’t want to be a pilot since he didn’t want to drop bombs and be responsible for killing innocent people. So instead he became a hydraulic specialist on the B-17 flying fortress where he flew on 33 missions. He recounted one mission where he was standing behind a metal plate right in the cock-pit area behind the pilot and co-pilot. The plane was shot at and the metal plate was dented but prevented him from getting hurt since he was behind it. On another occasion he spoke about how he was in Italy on the ground and waiting for a convoy with some other men but when it arrived it was pretty full and since they said another would be there soon, he decided to wait alone. Unfortunately one didn’t come and since it was dark he decided to sleep in the cemetery since he said nobody would look for anyone there. He also spoke about finding a boa constrictor under his cot in the tent he slept in and hated snakes to this day. He recounted how he was able to get the wheels down on one of the flights. The B-17 was having problems getting the landing gear down and the pilot was considering a belly landing but with bombs on either side of the plane it could be a disaster, so our father told the pilot to circle around once more while he tried to fix the plane in flight. The pilot did and he was able to get the landing gear down so they could all land safely. Everyone was so happy that they picked him up on their shoulders when they got out and cheered him on. He also had an awful mission when he and the pilot were the only ones to survive. There was a war correspondent on the plane that was talking to him and the plane was hit by flack. The correspondent was killed in front of him and the plane had a gaping hole. Others on board died as well. He and the pilot were the only survivors and he had to do what he could to keep the plane airborne until the pilot could land. He was hospitalized with PTSD after that but not much else was done back then for soldiers dealing with PTSD. He received an honorable discharge and several medals. He also spoke about a young boy of about 10 years that was singing to the soldiers as they were working, when he was in charge of overseeing the building a landing strip and hospital in Italy. He remembered telling the boy, Luciano, what a beautiful voice he had and that he should keep singing. It turned out to be Luciano Pavarotti the famous opera singer. Moises was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal although he also served under the rank of Technical Sergeant. He earned the Marksman Badge, Honorable Service Lapel button/Honorable discharge emblem, European-African-Middle Eastern Medal (awarded with bronze campaign stars for “Normandy”, “North Appenines”, ‘Northern France”, “Po Valley” , “Rhineland”, “Rome-Arno”, “Southern France” and “Air combat” and the Good Conduct Medal. Besides these personal decorations he was entitled to wear the Distinguished Unit Ribbon.

When Moises got out of the Army Air Corp he worked for a shipping company; Garcia y Diaz as a Passenger Traffic Manager. He met Olga there and they fell in love and married on July 23, 1949 and were subsequently blessed with four children (Rose, Olga, Moises and Joseph) who they loved dearly. At times he would take his children to work and they would get to have dinner on board one of the ships or walk through his office where they would see glass display cases with huge replicas of the ships from the company he worked for. They lived in Brooklyn until 1966 when they moved to North Babylon Long Island. They often enjoyed visiting relatives like his niece Anna and her children and also going on trips with Moises’s sister Aurora and her family and getting all the children together for parties and other celebrations. They traveled to Puerto Rico and Venezuela to visit siblings and celebrated their 50th anniversary in Hawaii all expenses paid, compliments of their four children. They moved to Chandler Arizona in 1996 since New York was too cold and Florida was a bit too humid for their taste.

While working in Manhattan at Garcia and Diaz Moises learned his way around really well and his photographic memory and excellent sense of direction was utilized to take visiting clients and dignitaries to see the sights. He once took a man who later became the King of Spain to visit St. Patrick’s cathedral in NY. He also helped some Cuban’s leave before the Castro regime took over by making more room for them on the passenger list since he was in charge and he could decide the percentage of passengers allowed and increased the amount for Cuban passenger’s verses those from Mexico since they were more desperate to get out. He had a passenger that needed an aspirin for a bad headache and got it for him. Turned out it was Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul. Moises befriended him and found out that things would be changing soon for the Cubans. On another occasion one of the passenger’s that was fleeing Cuba told him that there were Russian missiles in Cuba and he wanted asylum. Moises told him he couldn’t grant him asylum but would take him to someone who could and he should recount what he had just told him about the missiles. Well that was the start of the Cuban missile crisis since that man’s information went to President Kennedy who then sent out reconnaissance flights to confirm the information.

Moises’s last position was as a Senior Account Executive with K-line in the World Trade Center in Manhattan. He had many clients and his daughter Olga remembers meeting him one day when he had to go to Singer, the sewing machine company. She also remembers him telling her that once he went to see a customer and asked him why he had so many pictures of “the Fonz” on his office walls. The man said it was because it was his son. Moises had met Henry Winkler’s father.

Moises also had an experience where he was on an elevator in Manhattan and ready to go up to retrieve his suitcase but someone put their hand in to keep the door from closing. When it opened he was surprised to see body guards and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who boarded the elevator.

One fond memory his daughter Olga has of him is from the early 1970’s when he took her to the World Trade Center. She remembers him showing her the sites from the observation deck outside. He pointed out the area where China town and Little Italy were and when she asked him why there was barb wire on the top of the second tower which was a bit shorter and next to the tower they were in he said so people could not climb up and jump off. Moises and his wife Olga both worked at the World Trade Center; Moises at a shipping company (K-Line) and Olga at American Express as a bi-lingual Executive Assistant. Olga would wait for him at an old church nearby known as St. Paul’s Chapel or the Little Chapel, when he worked late. It was the church where George Washington went to pray after being inaugurated as our first president and was spared destruction despite being right across from the World Trade Center.

Moe’s wife Olga often sang a song that her children remember as they were growing up. It was their wedding song, known as the Anniversary song by Al Jolson. The song was very fitting for them both especially the last words which say “We find that our love is unaltered by time” Their love for each other was very strong and Moises always had a 6th sense about things which is why despite his dementia, he seemed to sense her loss and left soon after to be with her again. Those of us left behind will suffer their loss but will be happy they are together and forever grateful to have had them in our lives to love, guide us and share their wisdom. Moises’s favorite saying was “Salud, dinero y amor y el tiempo para gozarlo” – Health, Money and love and the time to enjoy it. He seems to have experienced that with our mother and we all Thank God that they both lived a long time even though it seems now like it went by much too quickly.
Moises loved to dance and entertain at home and take clients out to eat. He was interested in anything mechanical especially cars, liked building things and was very good in math, science and art. He also loved to read the paper and keep up on current events and loved taking relatives and friends who visited from other states or countries, to see the sites, both in NY and Arizona. Another famous quote from Calderon de La Bara which he repeated often in English, Spanish, and Italian was “Life is but a dream, to wake up is to die.”

Moises and Olga are survived by their four children, 5 Grandchildren and 6 Great Grandchildren, the last of which was just born on July 14th. They live on through their descendants as well as in their children’s and grandchildren’s memories.

Gonzalez, Moises - Military Service Record
Date of birth: June 27th, 1921 (Puerto Rico)
Nationality: American

Biography:
Moises Gonzales entered military service at Fort Dix on September 3rd, 1942, after being inducted on August 20th, 1942. Moises served as Airplane and Engine Mechanic with 815th Bomb Squadron.
He left for the Mediterranean on March 13th, 1944 and returned to the United States on September 24th, 1945.
On October 20th, 1945 he was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal, although he also served under the rank of Technical Sergeant. Besides his personal decorations he was entitled to wear the Distinguished Unit Ribbon.

Marksman Badge
Period: Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on: December 17th, 1943
Action: Awarded with clasp "CARBINE".

Honorable Service Lapel Button / Honorable Discharge Emblem
Period: Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank: Corporal
Unit: 815th Bomber Squadron, United States Army Air Forces
Awarded on: October 20th, 1945

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Period: Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank: Corporal
Unit: 815th Bomber Squadron, United States Army Air Forces
Awarded on: 1945
Action: Awarded with bronze campaign stars for "NORMANDY", "NORTH APPENINES", "NORTHERN FRANCE", "PO VALLEY", "RHINELAND", "ROME-ARNO", "SOUTHERN FRANCE" and "AIR COMBAT".
Details: General Orders No. 33, War Department (1945).

Good Conduct Medal - Army
Period: Second World War (1939-1945)