Nathan Espinoza Gonzalez
Nathan Espinoza Gonzalez
  • January 10, 1967 - September 15, 2017
  • Fresno, California

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Nathan Gonzalez Jr. was born on January 10, 1967 in Fresno, California to Gloria and Nathan Gonzalez Sr. and went to heaven on September 15, 2017. He was raised in Fresno, CA with his three brothers (Rick, Robert, and Jason) and two sisters (Joann and Jacquelyn). Throughout his childhood, he spent much of his time with his uncles and discussed many of the memories he had with him, including the outings they had with his grandfather. He also learned about mechanics with his father, who particularly enjoyed working on Camaros and Mustangs. These are skills he later taught to his children and found it was essential for them to know "the basics" including how to change a tire. Another activity he enjoyed was soccer, he played into his adolescence and often discussed when he had made a semi-pro team which was an accomplishment he was proud of. He also played at various points in his adulthood and had the opportunity to play indoor soccer with his adult children, often "showing they could not beat him." During his adolescence, he had various jobs including paper boy, which he could tell you many stories of things he observed when delivering the paper in the wee hours of the morning. He also enjoyed talking about his jobs at The Cottage and Luv's restaurants and often reminisced about the "great burgers and ribs" and the difficulty of ever finding a place in Fresno with food like those places. While he cooked his family ribs, he discussed how he learned to make ribs at Luv's and emulated the preparation and cooking of ribs he learned while working there. BBQ was his specialty, especially ribs and tri-tip.

During this time, he was also attending Fresno High school and graduated in 1985 and attended Fresno City College for a brief period. Shortly after, he joined Alert-O-Lite where he worked his way quickly to the sign shop manager. He had many stories about enjoying working for this family business who afforded him many opportunities to grow in his career. During this time, he also had a passion for trucks and was in truck clubs where he spent most of his time fixing his truck and being with the other truck club members. In 1992, he joined Fresno County Public works and was an employee there for several decades.

Among Nathan's many passions in life, his love of family was foremost. Family first, was his core value and the value he emphasized and wanted to distill in his children most. Even when times were tough, dad would always emphasize the importance of family. Again, soccer was also important to Nathan. Not only because of his experience playing soccer and the values the team sport taught but also because later in life it allowed Nathan to incorporate his children. He coached his youngest daughter Paige in Soccer for many years and enjoyed watching her develop her abilities and especially just spending the many extra hours of practice with Paige. Soccer also served as a way to incorporate her siblings into assisting with coaching. If one of the girls could not make a practice because of transportation, he would make sure he would pick them up and drop them off to ensure they could make practice. At times, he had half the team he was picking up and dropping off so they could attend soccer practices or games; this was another demonstration of the big heart he had. And anyone who ever came to watch my family coach the team was sure to witness the Nathan's passion for the game. He enjoyed making "special tacos with Paige" because they had specific ingredients they would use and was something he held with him dearly.

He also enjoyed the holidays, especially Halloween. Even during Christmas, he incorporated some Halloween spirit with his favorite movie, The Nightmare before Christmas and singing "this is Halloween, Halloween," to his son Nathan. He also enjoyed teaching his son-in-law various skills such as building things, as well as the importance of family values. He also talked recalled the many times of doing yard work with Marco and the various not so common techniques used, such as using a pallet and putting weights on it to level the ground. He would laugh about these times and hoped beyond everything that he was able to teach his kids at least one thing for them to take with them. One of his other favorite things was to have family get together with his siblings and reminisce about stories while they were growing up, further fostering the importance of family. He longed and worked to have a close family. Part of that family, was also his Christian faith and being actively involved in the church. He was a firm believer in his faith and is what kept him motivated and striving to be a good Christian.

His children love him greatly and will miss hearing him make jokes with the intention of embarrassing them, listening to Devo, talking about if he didn't know if the Raiders would ever be good again; fortunately, this past Christmas when making tamales on Christmas Eve, he saw the Raiders make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. His most famous quote that evening was "just like the Raiders."

One of the many things his oldest daughter, Clarissa will miss was their Saturday outings of yard sales and picking up fresh donuts while on their morning excursion. She will also miss his assistance with making tamales (and correcting the tamale spread technique) while sharing meaningful conversations and life lessons never to be forgotten. His extended family will also miss his words of wisdom and willingness to help no matter the personal costs. His mom, Gloria, will miss her little boy with his strong will and eagerness to love tremendously. Nathan and his mom shared a passion for a "good deal" at their yard sale