We are sad to announce the passing of Linda Darlene Gonzales on January 31, 2023, at the age of 80. Linda died peacefully in her sleep.
She was born Linda Jones on November 6, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas to Doris Calcote Jones and Ralph Silas Jones. Her father was soon deployed overseas and spent World War II in the South Pacific as a photographer for the Army. Linda spent her early childhood in Palestine, Texas. After the war, her family moved frequently, living in Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico as Ralph Jones worked for the National Weather Service. They settled in Albuquerque, N.M.
Linda attended and graduated from San Dimas High School. Though hoping to major in physical education, Linda was encouraged to pursue her education at New Mexico Tech and majored in math. There she worked with Dr. Kroger on his micro-meteorite research and developed a lifelong love of geology.
It was in Socorro, N.M. that she also developed a lifelong love of local boy, Raymond Leo Gonzales, son of Adelina Silva Gonzales and Ramon B Gonzales. They met on New Year’s Eve, 1963 and were married October 9, 1964. Linda graduated from New Mexico Tech in May of 1965. Also in May of 1965, Linda and Leo welcomed their daughter Karry Louise Gonzales into the world. They settled in Socorro.
Leo worked for Doxol Gas Company while Linda taught school. Doxol soon offered Leo more responsibility, and the small family left Socorro to pursue more opportunities in Colorado. They lived in Idaho Springs, Colo., where their second daughter, Ticket Adele Gonzales was born in September of 1970. They settled for a time in Durango, Colo., where Linda also worked at Doxol and created beautiful Ojo de Dios crafts, which she sold locally in Silverton, Colo.
In 1976, Linda and Leo left Doxol and moved to Denver, Colo. to start their own business, AAA Propane Sales & Rentals. Happiest and busiest as self-employed business owners, they worked six days a week for 18 years. Work hard, play hard. They also traveled regularly to Mazatlán, Mexico, as well as taking their daughters on adventures to broaden their horizons, including a trip to Europe and a cruise in the Bahamas. A favorite camping spot was Trapper’s Lake in Colorado.
In 1984, Leo suffered a massive heart attack, and though he lived, Linda and Leo decided to sell their business and retire early. After retirement, Leo pursued painting and stayed closer to home. Linda was irrepressible and soon began substitute teaching in Denver County. She regularly substituted at Kepner Middle School and was insistent that every child could succeed in math and every child deserved the time and attention to help them do so.
In the early 1990s, Leo and Linda began to split their time between Denver and Socorro. Leo longed to move back to his hometown and in 1994, they sold their home in Denver and settled back into Socorro life. They kept very busy with extended family and friends.
As ever, in Socorro, Linda remained busy and joined the Socorro Garden Club and the AAUW. She enjoyed water aerobics at the pool many days of the week and breakfast afterward in Magdalena. She volunteered at the Bosque del Apache and worked to create the visitors center at the Camino Real.
Linda and Leo continued to travel, frequently returning to Mazatlán as well as visiting Greece, Africa and sailing through the Panama Canal. They were deeply involved with their grandchildren, Karry’s children, Lee and Lyndsey Tu, who all lived for a time in Socorro.
After struggling for many years with heart trouble and rheumatoid arthritis, Leo passed away July 2, 2004. Grief-stricken but unstoppable, Linda arranged a showing of his art at New Mexico Tech. She also traveled that year to Russia with a mission outreach organized by a friend. She continued her local activities with many cherished friends. It was during this time that she got a puppy, Midge, who grew to be her devoted companion, keeping Linda very active. In 2010, Linda decided to move to Atlanta, Ga. to be closer to Adele and her children, Saphronia, Adeline and Vivianne Carson. Again, she actively engaged with her community, joining and volunteering at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Stone Mountain, Georgia. She was a competitive member of the water volleyball team, participating in the Senior Olympics locally several times. She also traveled with the senior center on several cruises and added a yearly vacation to Disney with her grandchildren to her busy schedule.
In 2015, Linda followed Adele and her family in a move to Orlando, Florida, settling in the active 55 community of Kings Ridge. There she made many close friends in a daily walking group and kept busy with local festivities and games groups. She traveled independently to the Galapagos Islands in 2016 and went on her last cruise in 2017. She was forced to limit her travel after that due to declining health conditions. For health reasons, Linda moved closer to Adele in the fall of 2018.
She weathered the pandemic safely and in 2021 decided to move to a local independent living community, The Summit of Winter Garden, so she could more easily access an active senior environment. She immediately engaged with the community, taking painting and card-making classes and playing Mexican Train and other games regularly. She went on restaurant and movie outings and made many friends.
As always, Linda had ideas on how to leave a place better than she found it and suggested turning an unused space into an organized lending library for the community. Management was amenable, and Linda was very proud to have planted the seed for the library’s creation.
She continued to be active until her death, spending her last Sunday on the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive with friends, where she saw alligators and various birds. Ever the contrarian, in the end Linda did “go gentle into that good night,” but only after a rich life filled with adventures, friends and family.
Linda is preceded in death by her parents, Doris and Ralph Jones, her husband, Leo Gonzales, and her sister, Evelyn Jones. Linda is survived by her daughters, Karry Louise Wallen-Gonzales and Adele Carson and her grandchildren, Lee Tu, Lyndsey Tu, Saphronia Carson, Adeline Carson and Vivianne Carson. She was well-loved by her sons-in-law, Stacy Carson and Rob Wallen-Gonzales and many, many cherished friends.