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Chris Gonzales, 68, of Gulf Breeze, passed away peacefully, with his wife by his side, on Sunday, October 9, 2016 at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. He had been a patient there since suffering a sudden hemorrhagic stroke and falling into a coma on Friday, October 7th. Born in Mobile, AL on December 13, 1947, Chris was the son of the late Alba L. (Gwinn) and Alphonse C. Gonzales Sr. Chris graduated from McGill Institute in 1965, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served for four years. The highlight of his experience was as an F-4 plane captain on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. After honorable discharge from the Navy, Chris attended The University of South Alabama for two years, and then began to pursue his dream of a career in aviation. Although he flew for many airlines throughout his lifelong career as a Professional Flight Engineer, three companies meant the most to Chris: Evergreen International Airlines, which gave him his first "shot" and training to become a PFE; Air Atlanta passenger airline, which was the heart and soul of his flying career, because he developed lifelong friendships with people who meant the world to him; and Kalitta Air(earlier known as Connie Kalitta Flying Service, American International Air), which turned out to be our "life blood", providing Chris the opportunity to continue flying as a PFE over the course of nearly 30 years. Chris was always grateful for the opportunities he was given through his flying career: traveling to all corners of the earth, experiencing exotic places and cultures, flying international humanitarian aid into disaster areas, providing support to our troops in the Middle East and bases around the world through military contracts, and especially the camaraderie in the cockpit with his fellow "Freight Dogs", whom he felt were some of the best in the business. During the rare stretches of time when Chris was home between trips, he enjoyed the laid-back Gulf Coast lifestyle, his boat, his Harley Davidson, and just spending quiet time at the house with his wife and dogs. Recently retired, he looked forward to spending more time with family and friends and new adventures traveling with his wife and dog Sammy. Together since 1981, Chris is survived by his wife of 28 years, Susie (Lindemuth) Gonzales. He is also survived by his sisters Alba and Linda, step-mother Jean Gonzales, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Sandy and Brent Hughes, mother-in-law Barbara Clayton, as well as many nieces and nephews and their children, all of whom gave him much joy and laughter. Chris also leaves behind an adult daughter, Teresa, from a previous marriage.
Graveside military inurnment services will be held at 2:05 PM, Friday , January 6, 2017 at Barrancas National Cemetery aboard NAS Pensacola. The motorcar procession will depart from Rose Lawn Funeral Home of Gulf Breeze at 1:00 PM. Please plan to arrive at the funeral home at least 45 minutes prior to the roll time of 1:00 PM. Following the service, a "Celebration" in Chris's memory will be held at a location yet to be announced. Chris's wish was for memorial contributions to be made to any canine rescue or animal welfare organization, and also the Salvation Army Red Kettles.
Arrangements entrusted to Rose Lawn Funeral Home of Gulf Breeze. 2942 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
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