With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Manuel M. Gonzales, Jr., a beloved figure in the community and the heart of his family, who passed away peacefully on October 27, 2023. Born on November 11, 1937, Manuel grew up in Clifton, Arizona. In his younger years, he was a Boy Scout and enjoyed playing football.
His adult life was marked by a long and distinguished career in law enforcement. Early in his career, he served as a police officer and criminal law instructor in Torrance, CA. In his hometown of Clifton, he was a police officer and later promoted to Chief of Police. Taking a break from law enforcement, he worked for a short time as a journeyman electrician for Morenci’s copper mine. The call of duty was strong enough for him to go back into law enforcement. Late in his career, he served with Greenlee County Search and Rescue and Greenlee County Sheriff’s Department where he was a mentor to some of the inmates he was responsible for. Manuel’s passion and dedication to serve and protect is evident in the 50+ years he served in law enforcement. Manuel retired from law enforcement at the age of 80 years old.
Manuel found immense joy in gathering with close friends and loved ones. Above all, his moments spent with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He epitomized the value of familial love and created a legacy rooted in togetherness, leaving a mark on the hearts of those fortunate enough to know him. His beloved pastimes, which he shared with his family, were listening to country music, the TV show Shark Tank and the art of making tamales. He was a dedicated sports fan and loved to watch his teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. He also found solace and serenity in camping and fishing, connecting with nature in its purest form.
Manuel is survived by: his spouse, Maria Rose; his five children; son, Anthony; and daughters, Tammy, Lisa, Ruby, and Patricia; and his three stepchildren, Steve, Jeff and Sharon. Manuel is also survived by countless grandchildren and especially bonded with Jessica; and many great-grandchildren and favored Kailey.
He was preceded in death by: his parents, Manuel Sr. and Marta; his siblings, Gilbert, and Olivia; granddaughter, Serena; and great-grandson, Jacob Martin.
A funeral service will be conducted to commemorate Manuel's life on his birthday, November 11, 2023. Family will receive friends Saturday morning, November 11, 2023, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Clifton at 9:00 am.
The rosary and prayers will be offered at 10:00 a.m., with the Mass of Christian Burial being celebrated at 11:00 a.m., also at the church.
A reception will follow the Mass services at the Sacred Heart Parish Center in Clifton where we invite friends and family to share stories, laughter, and tears in honor of Manuel, our dearly departed.
The void left by Manuel's passing cannot be filled. His family will miss him beyond measure. His spirit will live on in each person whose life he touched. His community loses a caring neighbor, and the world loses a man of kindness, strength, and unwavering integrity.