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Demaine Funeral Home

5308 Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22151
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Ralph Gonzales passed away on November 7th, 2017 at the age of 74 after a long battle with esophageal cancer. He enjoyed continuing education, tennis, boating and spending time with his family.
Ralph was born in Fort Defiance, Arizona on July 6, 1943 to Ralph Marion Gonzales of the Laguna Pueblo and Antoinette Maria Gonzales of the San Juan Pueblo.

Ralph graduated from Cathedral private high school in 1961. To pay his high school tuition he worked at Thrifty bakery where in addition to all the donuts he could eat he was offered a management position. Ralph had a choice, stay at the bakery or pursue out of state higher education. He made his decision and took his first plane trip to Creighton University located in Omaha, Nebraska where he eventually received his undergraduate degree in Accounting.

During this time, the U.S. was fully engaged in the Vietnam War. After graduation from Creighton University, Ralph enlisted in the Army on Dec 14th, 1967. As fate would have it, they lost his orders so they couldn't send him to basic training right away. He ended up being a postmaster which he quickly excelled at and was pushed into training at Fort Lee, Virginia that led him into Quartermaster and officer candidate school amongst others. Even brew master school! He served many roles for the 5 months he was in Vietnam that included Quartermaster in the motor pool, performing watches and even engaging in fire with the enemy. He was honorably discharged in January, 1970 as a First lieutenant with a Vietnam Service Medal.

After the war, he was accepted to the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver where he ended up meeting Karen Baker. They got married in 1973 in Denver and later had a son, Todd Gonzales on August 7th, 1975 and adopted their daughter Anna Gonzales on May 18th, 1978. He graduated from the University of Denver with a law degree in 1973.

Ralph started his career with the Bureau of India Affairs (BIA) and was eventually transferred to the Northern Virginia area. During his career he held true to his Native American culture by helping with legal and cultural discussions while at the BIA and later with the Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He worked on many interesting and transforming programs such as land reclamation of closed military bases back to local natives and impact assessment of the everglades on local natives. Although Ralph did retire, he never stopped being engaged and performed contract work for the BIA for court reviews to ensure the tribal courts were meeting the standards for federal funding. He also never stopped learning and attended Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) where he had the opportunity to visit Cuba as part of an educational trip.

Ralph was pre-deceased by his father Ralph Marion Gonzales, mother Antoinette Maria Gonzales and wife Karen Gonzales. He is survived by his son Todd Gonzales, daughter-in-law Erin Gonzales and their daughters Lindsay and Alannah Gonzales, his daughter Anna Gonzales and her son Nicholas Gonzales, his sister Rosanna Perea and his brother-in-law Rudy Perea.

Viewing will be held at Demaine Funeral Home located at 5308 Backlick Road, Springfield, VA on Thursday November 16th between 6pm and 8pm. Church service will be held at Burke United Methodist Church located at 6200 Burke Centre Parkway, Burke, VA on Friday November 17th at 10:30am followed by reception/finger foods. Burial service will be held at Quantico National Cemetery Friday November 17th at 2pm (there will be a processional from the church to Quantico).