American Patriotic 10
Official Obituary of

Elmo Gonzalez

June 26, 1925 ~ March 8, 2024 (age 98) 98 Years Old

Elmo Gonzalez Obituary

Beloved former Mayor of LaPorte, Elmo Gonzalez, passed away peacefully at the age of 98 on Friday, March 8, 2024 in the comfort of his home in Arlington Heights, Illinois. His adored wife, Paula, and children at his side.

Born on June 26, 1925 in Fort Worth, Texas, Elmo grew up with a sense of duty and honor that would define his life. As a little boy, he worked tirelessly helping his grandparents with their tailoring business, found odd jobs in the neighborhood, and performed in a trio at fairs and nightclubs displaying his charming personality. He would give all of his earnings from his endeavors to his mama, Ophelia, to help support him and his little brother Jackie.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor inspired Elmo to drop out of high school and bravely enlist in the Navy. He served his country during World War II as a radioman aboard the USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier. He demonstrated immense courage and resilience when his ship was struck by two kamikaze pilots in the Pacific. He was a member of the American Legion and the V.F.W.

After returning home, he headed north to Indiana where he worked in the steel mills. The roots of his political aspirations sprouted as he rallied behind local candidates that wanted to improve working conditions and championed for the underdogs of society.

Elmo then went on to become an extraordinary salesman. He sold vacuums door to door before moving on to retail at Montgomery Ward department store.

He was the manager and eventual owner of Alan Furniture Mart in Michigan City, Indiana and ES Kesslers in LaPorte, Indiana. He enjoyed many years of meeting the families within the community that would come to his stores.

Throughout this time, he loved to coach baseball, he volunteered in many organizations and clubs, and he became the President of the New Buffalo School Board. He had an obvious passion for making a difference and touched the lives of countless individuals. Elmo was a selfless public servant that wanted to help people. He radiated positivity, showing kindness and compassion to all who knew him.

Elmo served as two time Mayor of LaPorte from 1988-1996. He noted his biggest accomplishments as starting the citywide recycling program and bringing the government to the people. He began Saturday morning open door hours, where the public was encouraged to come see him and share their concerns.

Always an entertainer, Elmo delighted his fans when he would sing and dance. His famous and energetic renditions of “La Bamba” and “Fly Me to the Moon” will always be remembered.

At the young age of eighty five, he retired as the Director of Customer Service from the Indiana department of Transportation. He moved to Illinois to enjoy his family, always spending time with his dog Lulu and watching the Chicago Cubs.

Beyond his career and public service contributions, Elmo cherished every moment spent with his beloved wife, children, grandchildren, and extended family. His love and guidance will live on in the hearts of those he leaves behind, serving as an example of strength and inspiration in their lives. Elmo was preceded in death by his mother Ophelia (Ruiz) Avila, brother Espiridion “Jack” Gonzalez, and children Vanessa Kavanaugh and Elmo Gonzalez. He is survived by his wife of fifty one years, Paula (Zolkowski) Gonzalez, his daughters Lorelei (Jon) Ihasz, Holly (Bob) Lockley, Kami Tharp, Dee Dee Mascarenas, Melissa (Shawn) Donaldson, Cindi (Al) Walus, and Laura (Adam) Gonzalez-Escoto. His sons, Erik (Linda) Gonzalez, Edward Gonzalez, and Stephen (Nancy) Gonzalez, Twenty-six grandchildren, Ashland, Beckett, Greyson, Lachlan, Erin, Ethan, Kai, Kassidy, Cole, Laiken, Gage, Dashel, Gabe, Merrill, Katie, Elizabeth, Rio, Camille, Marissa, Gabrielle, Amy, Brian, Eric, Paige, Jade, and Stefan, Twenty-two great-grandchildren, Shelby, Samantha, Isabel, Emiliano, Dylan, Maddox, Archie, Mae, Jenna, Jordan, Kealan, Tristan, Juni, Lincoln, Addison, Brianna, ShongQuan, Brian Jr., Bianca, Layla, Julian, and Mila, and seven great-great grandchildren, Leonardo, Birdie, Nailea, Darrien, Angela, Aliana, and Javon.

Please join Elmo’s family by wearing his favorite colors orange or purple as we celebrate his incredible life. May he rest in peace knowing that his contributions to his community and country will never be forgotten.

Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday, March 15, 2024, at Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16, 2024, at Holy Family Parish, St. Peter Church, 1101 Michigan Avenue, La Porte, Indiana. Reverend Ian Williams will officiate. Family and friends may gather from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. on Saturday in the Funeral Home prior to the Mass.

Burial will be at St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery, Michigan City, Indiana.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hines Veterans Hospital,

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March 15, 2024

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Inc, Essling Chapel
1117 Indiana Avenue
La Porte, IN 46350

March 16, 2024

9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Inc, Essling Chapel
1117 Indiana Avenue
La Porte, IN 46350

Mass of Christian Burial
March 16, 2024

11:00 AM
Holy Family Parish, St. Peter Church
1101 Michigan Avenue
La Porte, IN 46350


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