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Hector Gongora Life Story

History And Contacts > Hector Gongora

Hector Gongora - born October 3, 1929 - died February 15, 2011

Hector Gongora was born in Mission Texas on October 3, 1929.  His mother Sylvestra passed away in 2010 at the age of 101.  His father Jose passed away in 1961.  Hector was sent at the age of 13 to Corrales to become a preacher for the Seventh Day Aventis Church.  He help build the school and would have to travel to the north of the Sandia’s to bring back coal from Madrid to heat the school.  The dormitory still stands today.  His calling was elsewhere and at 17 he took a bus to California and got a job as a bartender in Hollywood.  His networking skills brought him in contact with many stars of the day such as Nat King Cole who took him under his wing and gave great leads for work.  He even was an extra in the film Treasure of the Sierra Madre in 1948.  He joined the service and began a long respected career in the Army.  While stationed at Sandia Base he met and married Marie Fuentes in January of 1950.  Together they traveled all over the world and the United States.  Their three children Carolyn, Elizabeth, and Steve benefitted from all the wonderful people they met and the experiences they had as they traveled with their parents.  They were fortunate to have lived in France, Germany, Texas, California, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and New Mexico which was always home.  In the service he held many jobs as an enlisted man and as an officer.  Some of those jobs included, medic, chef, Nuclear weapons instructor, and Nuclear weapons inspector which took him to many unusual places like Turkey and memorable experiences.  Some of them included landing on an aircraft carrier and submerging in a submarine.  He retired in 1970 with 23 years of service.  He worked at different jobs and opened House of Covers in March of 1972.  He worked with his wife and son, Steve till 1982.  He was called back into active duty for another 4½ years and retired a second time from the service.  His love of service continued as a Lt. Colonel in the Reserves giving him 48 years of combined service.  He loved his country.  In his retirement he volunteered for many veteran organizations such as the PVA, DAV, MOW, and American Legion.  He also gave his time to the Catholic Community at Risen Savior as an usher, altar server and greeter.  He was a former Knights of Columbus.  Every first Saturday he assisted the priest at Gate of Heaven Mausoleum Mass.  After his wife, Marie passed away in 2003, he married Dorothy Moller.  He and Dorothy enjoyed dancing.  They volunteered at the Veteran’s Spinal Clinic by providing entertainment to the patients.  They enjoyed traveling until Hector’s illness made that difficult.  He was able to travel to Hawaii three weeks before he passed away.  His passing was peaceful surrounded by his loved ones.  Zachary, his great-grandson was present and launched a red heart balloon to the sky saying “Now Grandpa can catch it in Heaven”.

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