Ramon A. Gonzalez, M.D., age 96, passed peacefully surrounded by family on August 25th in Wauconda, Illinois, formerly of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The beloved husband for 55 years to Rita (née Fortunato), father of nine children, two boys and seven girls, grandfather to 12 and great-grandfather of three. He was born in Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic to Arturo Gonzalez and Maria Estela De Leon who instilled in him the importance of family, education, the desire to be a physician, and the value of serving his community.
After founding a political party in opposition to the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, he was forced to flee to the United States in 1960 with his first wife, Theanys Arias, with whom he had six daughters. Through grit and hard work, he obtained his credentials to continue his practice of medicine in the United States. The marriage ended in divorce, with his daughters remaining with him in the United States.
He fell in love with and married Rita Fortunato in 1967 with whom he had two sons and a daughter. Together, they raised a beautiful, successful family. Rita, a nurse, was his partner in providing medical care to underserved communities in Milwaukee at his Gonzalez Family Medical Center. Upon becoming sponsored by the Felician Sisters in 1993, the clinic became the Madre Angela Clinic. He continued to provide excellent medical care to his patients until he retired at the age of 80. When interviewed in 2002 by the Journal Sentinel at age 76, he said, “Working with poor people, you can never retire. There is no finishing the job. Poverty continues.” His love of being a physician inspired seven family members to practice medicine with the same high level of dedication in caring for their patients.
The essence of his being engendered respect and inspired those around him to fulfill their God given potential. His loved ones will forever miss his life-force but take solace in knowing he is reunited with his loving daughter and son (Mary Yvonne and Ramon Vincent) who preceded him in death. He is also predeceased by his brothers Vinicio and Sandino and in-laws, Ross Varco and Sondra Varco.
He will be missed by his adored wife (Rita) and children: Maria Gonzalez Knavel, Ramona Gonzalez (John Stuber), Gladys Swanson, Kathy Zeazas (Bill Raemisch), Jacqueline (Kent) Thielen, Robert Gonzalez, Gina Gonzalez (Leo Heinz), and William Knavel. His legacy will continue through his grandchildren (Erica, Julia, Michaela, Phillip, Sean, Robert, Alexa, Arianna, Brian, Evan, Jason, and Sofia) and great-grandchildren (Harrison Ramon, Eowyn Isabel, and Colette Estela).
He is further survived by his siblings: Fernando Gonzalez, Edis Gonzalez, Nidia Soler, Aspacia Gonzalez, and Iris Ruiz; Nancee and Vincent Biank; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
The family will share a Celebration of Life on October 29, 2022. His remains will be laid to rest at noon the next day at Wisconsin Memorial Park in Brookfield, Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Felician Sisters Retirement Fund c/o Sister Mary Catherine Ryzewicz, 871 Mercer Road, Beaver Falls, PA 15010-6815 in honor of the deceased.
Published by Chicago Tribune on Sep. 18, 2022.