Manuela (Nellie) Gonzalez, age 96, one month short of her 97th birthday, after a lengthy illness, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her residence of 52 years Nov. 20, 2017. She was born in Rice on Dec. 17, 1920.
A longtime member of the Immaculate Catholic Church in Corsicana, Granny, as she was called, was devoted to Christ and her family and friends. She lived her life as an example for others, bravely facing any life situations that came her way through the years.
She will be dearly missed and will be remembered for her kindness, gentleness, selflessness and "homemade tortillas."
She was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, brothers, grandson, and many other relatives and friends. She was the last of her siblings.
Widowed at the age of 28 from Juan Rodriguez in Mexia, she was left with four children, ages 10, nine, seven, and five. After that and for many years, and having only had a third-grade education, she was forced to work hard and to take whatever jobs she could to provide an income for the family. Some of her jobs included washing dishes at a restaurant, babysitting, and ironing for people (she was a whiz at ironing "White Shirts." She left them looking so pretty and professional looking. She also worked at the hat factory for many years, the chicken factory, Head Start, Mary Peterson Day Care and the Collin Street Bakery. She also picked, pulled, and chopped cotton. She worked hard all her working days.
She was a beloved mother, sister, grandmother, aunt and friend. When one of her sisters got arthritis in her hands and was limited in some things, Granny would make dozens of tortillas for her family. She did this for many years.
Everyone loved the 'little woman." She was small in size, but could also be hell on wheels. She was a good cook and always was prepared and ready to cook a meal when people visited. You would never believe 'beans' could taste different, but hers just had that special taste and one went away wondering why they tasted so good and different.
Granny saw her three sons serve in the military. Manual served in the Marines, Army and Air Force. He also served in Vietnam. Juan served and retired from the Air Force. He served in Vietnam for three tours. Ralph served in the Air Force, Army and retired. He served in Gulf War/Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
At one time, she had both sons, Manuel and Juan in Vietnam at the same time. This was very hard on Granny. She felt some consolation when she visited a good friend, Claudia Rosas, who also had son(s) in Vietnam at the same time. They would talk about their sons, and their visits were a comfort for each other.
Granny met Ralph Gonzalez, and they were married in 1952. On Sept. 7, 1954, their only son, Ralph Jr. was born.
The family expresses its gratitude to family and friends who called and visited Granny during her illness. It was a great comfort to them. A special thanks to her son, Ralph who lived with her and took care of her for 17 years. It was a relief for the brothers and sisters to know that she was not alone. Thanks also go to the hospice staff and nurses for the loving and compassionate care they provided for Granny during her final weeks of life.
Viewing and visitation will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 at Corley Funeral Home. The Rosary will be recited beginning at 5 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Monday Nov. 27 at The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on W. Hwy. 22 with Father Marco Rangel officiating. Interment will follow at the Catholic Cemetery.
Granny is survived by her son, Ralph Gonzalez; daughter Janie Rodriguez-Flores and husband, Frank; son, Manuel Rodriguez and wife Berta; daughter Wallie Hairod and husband Verby; son Juan Rodriguez, Jr. and wife Janie. She is also survived by nieces, nephews, many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Granny had always said that when the time came, she wanted her grandsons to serve as her pallbearers: Manuel Rodriguez, Jr. Antonio Rodriguez, Frank Flores Jr., Maria Elena Gonzalez, Austin Pritchard and Billy Pineda.
Honorary pallbearers are Frank Medrano, Jimmy Elliott, Juan Rodriguez Jr., (deceased) and Ralph Gonzalez, Jr.
An online guest book is available at www.corleyfuneralhome.com and selecting the Manuela (Nellie) Gonzalez obituary.
Published on November 22, 2017