Salvador “Sal” Gonzalez, 81, passed away November 2, 2017. Sal was born in Anthony, New Mexico, on September 27, 1936, to Consuelo and Enrique Gonzalez. While at Gadsden High School, he began an athletic career which would be his lifetime passion. His high school accomplishments included: holding a long-standing record for most points in one season, scoring 607 points in his career, being named to the High School All American team, and contributing to a NM record of the longest winning streak from 1952-1956.
Sal was described as the “all- everything athlete” upon his recruitment to the University of Arizona where he played football and baseball. While at U of A, under Coach Warren Woodson, he was a leading rusher as a freshman. Sal followed Coach Woodson to NMSU after two years at U of A. At NMSU he played in two victorious Sun Bowl games. The undefeated 1960 Aggie football team achieved the longest winning streak in the nation and were inducted into the NMSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Sal went on to coach high school football and baseball at Laguna-Acoma, Santa Rosa, Los Lunas and Gadsden High School. He led several of his teams to multiple state championship games. His career would include that of a teacher, athletic director and administrator. Following his high school coaching years, he had an opportunity to coach football at NM Highlands University. He also served as an interim head baseball coach at NMSU.
The lives of many young people were impacted by Sal’s decades of service in education. He also served his community as Dona Ana County Commissioner for eight years. He arranged for many services for the small communities in the outlying county and spent many hours in Santa Fe lobbying for funds for his constituents.
Sal was a man of strength, character and integrity. He had an uncanny ability to bring out the best in each person he encountered. He never met a stranger as he would engulf a person in his charismatic personality and presence. However, his greatest accomplishment was being a devout husband, father and grandfather. He left a powerful legacy to his grandchildren, Alejandro Salvador Hernandez and Ava Gabriella Hetrick and many nieces and nephews.
Those left to mourn his passing include his loving wife of fifty-four years, Betty Gonzalez; two daughters, Teresa “Jay” Gonzalez (Bill Hetrick) of San Antonio, TX and Katherine Gonzalez-Hernandez (Jorge) of La Union; two brothers, Enrique “Nookie” Gonzalez of Maryland and Ramon “Guero” Gonzalez (Jovita) of Anthony. Other survivors include two grandchildren. Sal was preceded in death by his parents, and a daughter, Anna Marie Gonzalez on December 31, 2007.
Visitation for Mr. Gonzalez will begin at 6 PM Friday, November 10, 2017 at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 224 Lincoln Street in Anthony where the Prayer Vigil is scheduled for 7 PM. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM Saturday, November 11, 2017 in the same church with the Reverends Rafael Castillo and Andres Alava concelebrating. The Rite of Committal and Interment will follow in the Anthony Cemetery where he will be laid to rest in the family plot. Serving as casket bearers will be Sal’s family and friends.
The Gonzalez Family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Baca’s Funeral Chapels of Las Cruces, 300 E. Boutz Road, 527-2222. Your exclusive providers for “Veterans and Family Memorial Care”. For online condolences logon to www.bacasfuneralchapelslascruces.com