Cover photo for Mike L. Gonzales's Obituary
Mike L. Gonzales Profile Photo
1919 Mike 2012

Mike L. Gonzales

June 5, 1919 — March 4, 2012

***  VIDEO TRIBUTE CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING LINK ABOVE ***Mike L. Gonzales, age 92 of Spearfish, died Sunday March 4, 2012 at the Fort Meade VA Medical Center. A funeral service will be 11am Wednesday March 7th  2012at Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche and also 11am Friday March 9th, 2012 at the Village Church in Newhall, CA.  Interment will take place in the Eternal Valley Memorial Park Cemetery, in Newhall CA. Miguel Lozano Gonzales was born to Lauro and Florentina (Lozano) Gonzales on June 5, 1919 in the small city of San Fernando CA.  He was the oldest of three children.  He had two younger sisters, Jenny (Rosales) and Florence (Lopez).  When he was child he often played baseball.  When it was his turn to bat, he would evaluate the competition in the field, and then hit the ball where he wanted it to go.  A grounder or a fly ball didn’t matter to him, as he could catch either.  His preferred position was left field, and he had a strong arm needed for that position.  Miguel didn’t just enjoy baseball, it was his PASSION.  Also he was a true blue Dodger fan.  A little known fact is that he was asked to play professional baseball.  His only regret in life is that he didn’t. For most of his life, Miguel has been known as “Mike”.  He met Elizabeth Ballestero in school, and they became childhood sweethearts.  Both of them grew up in Pacoima CA.  She was the oldest of seven children, and the only daughter.  They started dating when he was 17 and she was 16 years old.  Mike never finished school because this parents both passed away, and he became the main supporter of the family.  Mike and Elizabeth became husband and wife on June 15, 1941 in Los Angeles CA.  Mike served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945.  He was a member of the Company A, 422nd Infantry Regiment.  His basic trained was at Fort Ord CA.  He was selected, trained, and became a military policeman.  After recovering from a broken ankle, he joined his unit that was already in Europe, during World War II.  After returning home from the Army, he became a Lather, for a lathing contractor.  He had a strong work ethic and he always did his best at his job.  In Sylmar CA, two of his personal homes that he helped build are still standing.  He was also instrumental in helping construct three churches located in Granada Hills, Sunland, and Newhall CA.  He retired in1984.  Nine years after Mike and Elizabeth were married, their daughter Geraldine was born.  Mike, Elizabeth, and Geraldine were born in the same hospital in San Fernando CA.  Now Geraldine Walker is the mother of three children: William Michael Walker, Ginger Renee (Eiss) Walker, Jennifer Beth (Crawford).  In 1963 Mike and Elizabeth adopted a 2 ½ year old girl: Ginger Kathleen.  Now Ginger Kathleen Hopkins-Holmes is the mother of two children: Amber Rose Hopkins and Anthony Hopkins.  In 1972, Mike was known as “Papa” because his first born grandson called him “Papa” instead of “Grandpa”.  In 1984 he retired.  In August 2007 they moved to Spearfish, SD. On March 4, 2012, “Papa” died at the Fort Meade VA Medical Center, near Sturgis SD at the age of 92 years young.  However you knew him, whether as Miguel, Mike, or “Papa”, he was a responsible, gentle, quiet, generous and caring man that walked with Jesus.  He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a great grandfather.  Towards his last days, he asked for prayer in hope that he would be remembered.  Everyone that knew him will miss his hugs and his smile. Mike is survived by his wife, Elizabeth of Spearfish; daughters, Geraldine (William L.) Walker of Belle Fourche; adopted daughter, Ginger Kathleen Hopkins-Holmes (Alan) of Hawaiian Gardens, California; grandchildren, William Michael Walker, Ginger Renee Eiss, Jennifer Beth Crawford, Amber Hopkins, Anthony Hopkins; great grandchildren, Heather Kay Walker, Rachael Walker, Rebecca Walker, Gavin Walker Eiss; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Jenny in 1972.
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