Gonzalo ‘Moto’ Monarque, who resided in Salinas, was born in 1926 and was raised in Sonoma. He was the son of Raul and Olimpia Monarque. He attended Flowery Grammar School and Sonoma Valley High School, graduating in 1945. He was a competitive athlete, participating in baseball, track, basketball and the first football team for the high school.
In 1945, he joined the U.S. Maritime Service, training under the U.S. Coast Guard at Catalina Island, where he earned his radio operator’s license, 2nd class. Gonzalo enrolled at St. Mary’s College (Moraga) in 1948. In 1950, he again entered the Merchant Marine. For his wartime effort, he received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Coast Guard. After, he returned to St. Mary’s College and graduated in 1953 with a major in chemistry. He immediately started work as a chemist for Merck & Company, while at the same time attending engineering classes at UC Berkeley.
In 1965, Gonzalo went to work for Corning Inc. as a process engineer. His various projects required him to move his family to Baltimore, Md., Tampico, Mexico, Houston, Texas and Pascagoula, Miss. After 14 years working for Corning, he joined Kaiser in 1979 and moved the family to California where other family members were located. While at Kaiser, Gonzalo contributed to projects that would improve plant operations, such as: fuel oil reduction while maintaining the same plant production, introducing less costly fuels and improving fuel combustion with liquid oxygen.
He retired from Kaiser in 1992. He was still in good health, was energetic, and wanted to be productive. He consulted for several years and he finally found a second career – that of a substitute high school teacher. He learned that he could communicate with teenagers, and of course he could teach science classes. At times, while in the classroom, Gonzalo would think about past teachers from Flowery School and Sonoma High School. These teachers had a big influence on Gonzalo.
Later in life, Gonzalo fought through several bouts with cancer. Nevertheless, he continued his substitute teaching assignments. However in 2011, he had to give up his teaching work; his body no longer had the strength to carry on in the classroom. His other activities were also curtailed, such as volunteer work and tutoring.
Gonzalo passed away on New Year’s Day 2014.
He is survived by his two sons, Stephen (Brenda) and Charles (Bonita); and Jean Monarque, his former wife and mother of his two sons. He is also survived by his sister, Yvonne Perez and her family, living in Arkansas; and by his brother, Bill and his family, living in Texas. He also leaves behind four nephews and two nieces. Gonzalo also had fond memories of Lorraine Silveria, his companion for 16 years who predeceased him. Much appreciation to his medical doctors and the caring in-home care providers, whose efforts kept Gonzalo comfortable.
Gonzalo was a 50-year member of the American Chemical and Engineering Society, the Salinas Elks Lodge #614, the Monterey Moose Lodge #876, and the American Legion in Salinas Post #31 and in Sonoma, Jack London Post #489.
Friends are invited to Graveside services at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Park in Sonoma, at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.
Duggan’s Mission Chapel, 525 W. Napa St., Sonoma in charge of arrangements.
Donations can be made to Sonoma Valley Education Foundation.