Hebron veteran awarded Purple Heart

World War II veteran Joseph V. Gonzales, who was wounded twice in battle, was honored with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, his daughter Brenda Earley said.

A marksman, Gonzales saved a letter from former President Harry Truman thanking him for his service in the U.S. Army.

Gonzales, whose wartime assignments included Germany and France, didn’t usually recount his military experiences, Earley said. However, he talked about them years ago to his grandson’s fifth-grade class.

A kind and caring person, Gonzales, 91, of Hebron, loved spending time with his family.

“He was just a good dad,” Earley said. “He was all about the kids.”

Gonzales, who was strong in his Catholic faith, enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren by taking them shopping for snacks, being treated by them to breakfast or just being around them at home.

“My house is a three-ring circus with my son’s friends here and my daughter’s friends here,” Earley said. “My dad was the ring leader. He didn’t care if there were 50 kids here.”

Gonzales was married to his late wife, Alice, for 55 years.

He liked watching Chicago Bulls or Chicago Cubs games with his grandson and the boy’s friends.

“He loved that or when the little ones would go snuggle in the bed with him and watch ‘Sponge Bob,’” Earley said. “We even caught my dad watching ‘Sponge Bob’ when the kids weren’t there.”

Gonzales enjoyed working crossword puzzles and reading, especially books about ghost hauntings, Earley said. He would spend hours browsing books at Barnes Noble with his grandchildren.

Gonzales enjoyed being outside working in the yard and sitting on his swing, Earley said.

“He was caring and definitely loved his children and his grandchildren,” Earley said.

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