In Memory

Charles Gonzales

Charles Gonzales

September 28, 1945 - March 10, 2022

Valley Hills Funeral Home

Our Easter Bunny & Santa Claus made his last call on March 10, 2022. Charles (Charlie) Julian Gonzalez was born to the late Julian and Maria Gonzalez in Sidney, Montana on September 28, 1945. Charlie graduated from Wapato High School in 1964 and graduated from Central Washington University in 1973 with his B.A degree in Recreation, Art-Minor, and P.E Minor. Charlie was a proud veteran and served in the United States Army in 1966-1968 at Fort Lewis Washington; Fort Park, LA; and Vietnam. He trained as an Infantry man, 81MM mortars, and on the job training as a Tunnel Rat in Vietnam. Charlie was proud of his countless Military Medals Awarded which included 2 Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star Attachment, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Medal for M16 rifle and 45 caliber pistols, Sharpshooter Medal for M14 rifle, Sharpshooter Medal for 81MM mortars, plus numerous Leadership Training Awards and Recognition Awards from the Department of The United States Army.

Charlie worked with the following Recreation Programs in various positions such as the Wapato Community Center as director, Yakima Recreation Department as recreation leader, Quinault Indian Nation Recreation Department as director, and Yakama Indian Nation Recreation Program as recreation leader. Charlie also worked as a laborer in the hops, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, watermelons, apples, and potatoes. He was also employed with retail, logging with Smith-Greene Logging in Warm Springs, Oregon for 11 years, and Jeld-Wen Corporation in Yakima & White Swan for 4 years.


Charles was an avid sports person. He started the Wapato Men’s Softball League around the 1970’s. He coached men & women’s softball teams, men & women’s basketball teams, numerous youth teams in softball, baseball, basketball, and tee-ball. He traveled the Northwest playing in numerous tournaments as well. Charlie was an active member until his illness with the following Referee/Umpires Associations: Yakima Valley Basketball Officials Association for 34 years, Grays Harbor Referees Basketball Association for 3 years, Central One Basketball Officials Association for 16 years, Washington AAU Referee Association for 34 years, and National Indian Activities Association for 15 years, Central One Baseball Umpires Association for 16 years, Central One Softball Umpires Association for 16 years, Washington ASA Umpires Association for 37 years, Yakima Valley Umpires Association-Softball for 23 years, and Yakima Valley Umpires Association-Baseball for 28 years. Charlie received individual awards from YVUA, YVBOA, CWBO, WIAA, 2004 Jimmie Silver Memorial Award, 2005 30+ year Service Award for Basketball, 2006 WIAA Meritorious Service Award, and in 2007 YVUA Above & Beyond Service Award.

During basketball season he would referee numerous All Indian National Tournaments in Toppenish, Yakima, Spokane, Warm Springs, Oregon; Los Angeles, California; Fargo, North Dakota; Fort Washakie, Wyoming; Billings, Montana; Fort Hall, Idaho; as well as districts, regional, state playoffs for the W.I.A.A. During baseball season he did W.I.A.A. high school games and playoffs in baseball & softball, Senior Legion Baseball, Junior Legion Baseball, Senior Babe Ruth Baseball, Junior Babe Ruth Baseball, Babe Ruth 12U to 16U league and tournaments including playoff games; ASA 18U, 16U, 14U, 12U, 10U league and playoff games for fast pitch softball; Yakima Recreation League slow pitch games and tournaments for men, women, and co-ed. While living in Oregon he did numerous tournaments for softball & baseball little league at the league sub-district, district, state, and regional levels. He was selected to do the Softball 12U National at Alpenrose in Oregon but could not attend do to work commitments after moving back to Washington during the summer of 1999.

Charlie loved his Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, and Washington Huskies. He loved to make his hot sauce and barter when he would travel to referee or umpire. Cooking and gardening every hot pepper and vegetable you could imagine while never allowing a single weed to grow were some of his other favorite hobbies. You would frequently find him at the casino or scratching scratch tickets somewhere. You could also always find him at some of his other favorite local spots such as the Wapato American Legion 133, Thursday at Wapato Filipino Community Hall, and St Jack’s for his snacks and movies. He enjoyed watching WWE, cutting out coupons for all the best deals, and he was active with Yakama Warriors Association and enjoyed every second. Charlie was a busy man, never would he stay in just one spot and always was ready to lend a hand. Perfectionist in everything he did, from gift wrapping to folding laundry. Charlie always had this saying “when I die, I’ll probably be in the 3-second key or in the baseball field somewhere.” Charlie leaves behind a legacy beginning with his son Charles Gonzalez II, step-daughter Megan Villagomez, sister Mary Garcia, brother Robert Gonzalez, and his beloved granddaughters Brooke and Hope Gonzalez. His nieces Cecilia Tovar-Rocha, Alicia Figueroa, Victoria (Javier) Alvarado, Kylee (Casey) Parks-Garcia, Cierra Garcia, and nephew Roy (Anna) Garcia. He preceded in death by his parents Julian & Maria Gonzalez, brother Joseph Gonzalez, sister Gloria Tovar, and daughter-in- law Tiffany Gonzalez.

Memorial Service with Military Honors with be March 26, 2022 at 1:00 PM at the Yakama Warriors Association in Toppenish, Washington.

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03/23/22 06:07 AM #1    

John Middleton

Charlie and I were basketball managers at WJHS in eighth and ninth grades. His enthusiasm and concientiousness made our sideline activities fun. Shooting around, picking up towels, etc. He obviously didn't change throughout his life. He lives on in my memories.

03/24/22 04:16 PM #2    

Margit McGuire

What a wonderful life! So glad this was shared and learn about all his various work and life activities. I'm sure he will greatly missed.


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