On January 22, 2019, the angelic spirit of Florentino “Tino” Gonzalez was raised from this world by the powerful and loving hands of Jesus Christ. Like a child with his father, Tino was guided into paradise by his Savior. There, in all of that heavenly glory where fear and sadness are no more, Tino was met by the warm embrace of his granddaughter, Mia Storm Gonzalez; niece, Heather Gonzalez; father-in-law, Willie “Mr. Jones”; mother-in-law, Dora Jones; brother-in-law, Oscar “Doodlebug” Jones; grandparents, and so many loved ones that had preceded him.
Before making this wondrous journey to Heaven, Tino worked relentlessly to make a heaven of this often-troubled earth. A certified BOI and first generation American, Tino was born on October 16, 1959 in Galveston, Texas to Carlos Gonzalez and Rosaura Gonzalez, their third child. Tino was the baby brother to his two older brothers, Jesse Gonzalez and Juan Gonzalez. However, Tino would soon be bestowed with that heavy crown that all older siblings know too well when he was blessed with the arrival of his beautiful little sister, Ingrid Gonzalez. More younger siblings would happily trickle into his life with the births of his younger brothers, Alex Gonzalez, Willy Gonzalez, and Tony Gonzalez.
As a BOI, Tino would continue to be raised in Galveston and remain in the majesty of this beautiful island for the rest of his earthly days. Growing up and attending Catholic schools, Tino was widely perceived as the proverbial class clown. Much to the levity of his brothers and friends, but to the chagrin of his teachers, there seemed to be no end to his numerous good-natured antics. This happy disposition would continue to be part of his soul as he progressed into manhood.
Being the son of a brilliant carpenter and mechanic, Tino was a virtual wizard when it came to architecture, construction, and engineering. So much in fact that the day finally arrived when he could finally teach the teacher. The many complex and tasking designs regarding home improvement that were dreamed about in his magnificent brain were often realized into tangibility. Carpentry and the like were the methods that seemed to fuel his drive to improve the lives of others. Next to his wonderful mind, Tino’s greatest tool in carpentry were his Titan-like hands that were strong enough to outmuscle the heaviest loads, yet simultaneously gentle enough to embrace his friends and loved ones.
Standing tall at 6’2” and with the strength of a bull, Tino, in his physical youth, would dominate the basketball courts of O’Connell High School and any other court where he was challenged. His flawless basketball skills and deadly three-point shot would be the regular instruments of heartbreak for any opposing team. Tino’s obvious talents and prowess as an athlete would only be matched by his boundless generosity, love of life, and the sheer coolness as he perceptively glided through the discos of Galveston with the same swagger of both John Wayne and John Travolta.
It was at one of these many Galveston discos in December of 1979 that Tino met his endless love and future wife, the lovely Denise Jones Gonzalez. Since that momentous encounter, both Tino and Denise would experience the very definition of true love. It was also at that encounter when Tino would meet a woman whose colossal heart would match his own. Whether times were up or down and the bounty was slim or fat, their love endured to the point where not even death could hinder it. Tino and Denise were married in October of 1981.
Out of this great love that both Tino and Denise shared came the births of their three sons, Steven Gonzalez, Matthew Gonzalez, and William Gonzalez. In raising these three boys into men, Tino and Denise strived to imprint the foundations of Christ and the love of humanity. It was Tino’s great pride that his three sons all earned their college degrees from Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin.
In 2015, Tino’s love for his three sons was matched by the arrival of his grandson, Gabriel Gonzalez. What made him marvel at his beloved grandson was the same good-spirited rambunctiousness that Tino had remembered from his youth which had been so obviously passed down from father to son to grandson. It was also the uncanny resemblance of those same Titan-like hands that Gabriel now shares with his grandfather.
Beyond carpentry, Tino would be professionally involved with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) for many years and in a number of capacities ranging from their audio/visual/media department to human resources. Beyond that, Tino would also work as the Vice President/Director of Human Resources at the Children’s Center Inc., Vice President of Moody National Bank, Executive Director at Sea Star Base Galveston, and finally as Family Engagement Specialist for Galveston Independent School District (GISD).
Not only would Tino remain in Galveston, but he would also work tirelessly to improve and promote this special Island throughout the world. To begin to recount the seemingly endless list of charities, community boards, and humanitarian efforts that Tino was so actively associated with would be an act of futility on this writer’s part. However, to name only a relatively few, Tino proudly served Galveston College as both a Regent and Chairman of the Board, the Clinical Transitional Science Award (CTSA) as an Independent Advisor, the Family Service Center as President Elect, the United Way of Galveston as both a Board Member and Campaign Chair, the Galveston Island Rotary as both a member and President, the Sea Scout Base Galveston as a Board Member, and the Hope Academy as Treasurer. He was also the proud recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award which was bestowed to him by the University of Texas Medical Branch. It was therefore fitting that Tino would continue to remain on earth a day after MLK Day 2019. Perhaps the best glimpse into Tino’s boundless altruism were the routine acts of kindness that he regularly performed on friends, total strangers, and the homeless alike. Being Galveston’s favorite son, it was remarked by those who loved Tino that, “Santa Claus does not live in the North Pole. He lives in Galveston, Texas.”
In the end, Tino finally bested the cancer that made the grievous error of attempting to bully him for these past twenty months. Despite its unrelenting efforts, the cancer could not infiltrate his personality nor his soul. Aiding him in this great challenge were the kind surgeons and doctors of both UTMB and MD Anderson as well as the staff of GISD whom Tino regarded all so very fondly.
Tino is survived by his wife, Denise; sons, Steven Gonzalez (Brooke), Matt Gonzalez, and William Gonzalez; grandson, Gabriel; mother and father, Rosaura Gonzalez and Carlos Gonzalez (Vivian); brothers, Jesse Gonzalez (Rene), Juan Gonzalez (Michelle), Alex Gonzalez (Kim), Willy Gonzalez (Sherrill), and Tony Gonzalez; sister, Ingrid Gonzalez; brothers-in-law, Eddie Jones (Dee), Dennis Jones (Pam), and Robert Jones (Janie); sisters-in-law, Dolores Hernandez (Frank) and Consuelo Casarez; godchildren, Amber Jones, Kurt Gonzalez, Lauren Jones, Philip Jones, Dennis Jones Jr., and Adam Hawkins Jr.; numerous and beloved nieces and nephews; and devoted friend, Gino DeRanieri.
Tino’s family will receive visitors from 4:00 until 6:00 pm, Sunday, January 27, at St. Patrick Catholic Church. A celebration of Tino’s life will begin at 6:00 pm, followed by a rosary at 6:30 pm.
Funeral Mass will be 10:00 am, Monday, January 28, at St. Patrick Catholic Church with burial following at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Pallbearers are Jesse Gonzalez, Juan Gonzalez, Alex Gonzalez, Willy Gonzalez, Tony Gonzalez, Gino DeRanieri, Marvin Jones Jr., John Gonzalez, Kurt Gonzalez, Chris Gonzalez, Philip Jones, Mike Gonzalez, and Jackson Gonzalez.
Honorary pallbearers are Eddie Jones, Dennis Jones, Robert Jones, and Taylor Gonzalez.
For those who desire to make memorial donations, the family would appreciate that contributions be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, In Memory of Tino Gonzalez, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or www.mdanderson.org/gifts. Please make a note for money to go toward Glioblastoma Moon Shot or Department of Neuro-Oncology. Memorial donations can also be made to the Tino Gonzalez Memorial Fund at Hometown Bank.