Gonzalo “Gunner” Dominguez passed away on Aug. 4, 2020, at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center of Portland, Ore. Gunner was born on Jan. 10, 1957, and was 63 years of age at the time of his passing.
Gonzalo was the fifth of 15 children born to Antonio and Juana Banuelos Dominguez. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, where he lived the first 6 years of his life. His life in Mexico included boxing with his brothers, eating pepitas, breaking piñatas, climbing the cliffs nearby and family beach trips to Rosarito.
In 1963, he became a U.S. permanent resident, along with his mother, Juana, and seven other siblings. The family of 11 was able to move to Blythe, Calif., to join their father, Antonio, who worked in the fields. Religion played a big part in his life and he attended catechism after school and church services every Sunday with the family.
As a young boy, he enjoyed playing marbles, tops, and swimming in the canal — diving off the bridge that connected our driveway to the main road. He and his brothers would have top competitions and make homemade kites out of newspaper, string, and an old rag for the tail. He spent hours playing in the ditch behind the house, catching crawdads with his older brothers for a crawdad feast. He would go fishing with his brothers returning with a tub full of fish for Mom to cook. He enjoyed the summer family picnics out in the Death Valley desert, where he loved playing in the sand dunes.
In 1967, his family of 16 moved to Parkdale, Ore., where he attended Parkdale Elementary School. He spent his summers working in the fields with his Mom and older siblings, first picking strawberries and then changing sprinklers in the orchards. He continued his Catholic faith and attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church every Sunday with his family. In the winters, he enjoyed sledding in the deep snows of the mountain hills and the summers, fishing in the icy waters of Trout Creek with his brothers. The family moved to Pine Grove in 1970. He attended Mid Valley Elementary School and then Wy’east Junior High, where he excelled at his studies. He played on the basketball team and was a quick player. He later attended Hood River Valley High School, where he met his first wife, Brenda Deaton.
He put oversized tires on his first car, which he would use to drive his sister, Virginia, to school, picking up Brenda along the way. He drove his friends all over in that car with his 8-track blasting his favorite songs, “Hello It’s Me” and “I Can See Clearly Now.”
He married Brenda in 1973, in a small ceremony held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. One year later, their first son, Ryan, was born. Later, they welcomed a second son, Gonzalo Jr. Soon after, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Lewis, in Tacoma, Wash. He chose to become an Army cook, where he excelled at baking. He entered cake-decorating contests, where he received many first place awards. After his Army service, he returned to Hood River to join the family business, Juanita’s. While there, he helped his mom figure out how to make the family recipe for flour tortillas on a larger scale. He shared his gift of cooking and would bake beef wellington for Christmas. He spoiled his nieces and nephews by baking and decorating birthday cakes.
He was dedicated to his family’s business and worked there until his death. While living in Pine Grove, their third son, Alex, was born. He and Brenda divorced in 1981, but they remained best friends. He met and married Rose Marie (Rosie) Brown in 2017.
Those who knew and loved Gonzalo remember him as a gentle, compassionate, and playful soul. He was very generous and lighthearted. He loved his children and grandchildren immensely. Many, especially his family, will miss him.
His wife, Rosie, sons Ryan, Gonzalo Jr., and Alex, and grandchildren Alex Jr., Gunner II, and Aiden survive him.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Gonzalo B. Dominguez Family Trust, which is set up to benefit Gonzalo’s grandchildren (c/o Anderson’s Tribute Center, 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031).
Catholic funeral services were held Tuesday, Aug. 11 at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, 1501 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Graveside Rites with Military Honors immediately followed at Pine Grove Butte Cemetery. With the current pandemic and Oregon executive orders, Gunner’s services have been shared via Anderson’s Facebook live page and friends that exceed the Catholic Churches' allowed capacity watched a live stream at Anderson’s Tribute Center.
A viewing and for friends to visit with family was held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 8-9 at Anderson’s Tribute Center.
Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.