On the afternoon of October 31st, 2022, Ruben Gonzalez passed away in the loving arms of his wife, Mary Kay Gonzalez, and surrounded by his sons Ruben, Robert, and Kevin. He died the way that he lived, with tenacity and integrity, despite a decades long battle with cancer that would try to strip him of both.
In addition to his wife and three sons, he was blessed with and is survived by his three devoted daughters-in-law, Lorelei, Eileen, and Jessica, his 5 grandchildren, Ruben William, Alex Thomas, Katelyn Patricia, Tyler Fabian, and Arista Mirai, his mother, Tomasita, and his sister Lucy.
His immediate family was his joy, but Ruben was blessed with an extended, chosen family, which included friends, co-workers, students, and players, that was vast and whom he loved dearly.
For 40 years as a teacher in Hoboken, 25 of which was at Hoboken High School, God blessed Ruben with new students, players, teammates, and co-workers who supported him, challenged him, refined him, and kept him young. He dressed impeccably, not simply because he enjoyed fashion, but because he aimed to subtly represent an ideal of professionalism for the students to emulate. He believed in the potential of each student and player that he brought into his fold and demanded them to envision a greatness for themselves. He nurtured his students and players through tough love and discipline, as if they were his own children, because he knew that they were, if only for a short time.
He loved you all because he came from the same streets and shared the same experiences. He was a Puerto Rican-American, born in Fajardo, and educated in Hoboken. He knew the importance of a positive role model for those coming to the U.S. and the significance of education, so he devoted his life to teaching ESL. He felt the love of his father, Domingo Gonzalez, and brother, Eddie Gonzalez, (both predeceased) on the baseball diamond, so he passed on that love and those techniques to those who had the discipline and passion to call themselves Redwings.
Ruben expressed his faith and love through service—to family, community, and church. During his 38 years as a volunteer at St. Francis church, he found peace by serving God through tasks that ranged from shoveling after a snowstorm or ushering someone to their seat during mass to ministering the Eucharist or teaching CCD. For 10 years as Parish Council President, and 17years as church trustee, he did his best to honor the church’s mission of charity, generosity, kindness, and faith. He endeavored to impart the wisdom of service, and to express the sentiment “that it is in giving that we receive” to all for whom his life touched.
Visitation will be held at St. Francis Church in Hoboken on Friday, November 4th, 2022, beginning at 5pm and concluding at 9pm.
A funeral mass celebrating his life will be held at St. Francis on Saturday, November 5th, 2022, at 10am.
Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum in North Arlington, NJ.
Any who wish to remember Ruben Gonzalez in a special way may donate in his name to St. Francis RC Church, 308 Jefferson Street, Hoboken NJ.
Arrangements by Failla-McKnight Memorial Home, 533 Willow Avenue, Hoboken.