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Richard Gonzales

September 10, 1933 - August 5, 2019

Richard Gonzales, age 85, of Gary, IN, passed away suddenly of a stroke on August 5th, 2019, surrounded by his family. He was born on September 10, 1933, in Oak Park, IL, to Alice Howe Lufkin and Harold Francis Gonzales.

He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Patricia (née Buck); brother, Douglas (Mary Sno…read more

Richard Gonzales, age 85, of Gary, IN, passed away suddenly of a stroke on August 5th, 2019, surrounded by his family. He was born on September 10, 1933, in Oak Park, IL, to Alice Howe Lufkin and Harold Francis Gonzales.

He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Patricia (née Buck); brother, Douglas (Mary Snow) Gonzales of Dover, PA; four children, Richard (Sali) Gonzales of Midlothian, TX, Michele (Ray) Gordon of Cherry Hill, NJ, Carmen (David) White of Munster, IN, and Lisa Babbitt of Montgomery, IL; five grandchildren, Douglas (Kristi), Amanda (Christian), Sarah (Dylan), Rachel, Malic; and four great grandchildren, Jackson, Braxton, Owen and Afton.

Richard served in the U.S. Air Force before earning his bachelor’s (1960) and his master’s (1963) degrees from Bradley University and his doctorate (1966) from the University of Illinois. Richard taught electrical engineering at Bradley and later at Purdue University Northwest for a combined total of over 50 years. He was a well-loved professor known for his enthusiasm and his devotion to his students and to the subjects he taught.

Led by his adventurous spirit, Richard’s extraordinary engineering talents regularly brought him to the front lines of innovation. He started the first computer center at Bradley University, worked on the NASA Apollo spacecrafts in Texas and in California, created a course on micro controllers for Purdue University Northwest at England’s University of Warwick and worked at Argonne National Laboratory testing electric cars, which he later drove.

At any time of day, Richard could be found working in his garage, where he rebuilt old sports cars and designed new ones. He was an avid autocross racer and a member of multiple racing organizations. He regularly won races into his 80’s.

Richard was determined, affectionate, straight-forward and wise. He loved lively debates, tennis, racquetball, happy hour, angel hair spaghetti, fleece sweaters (“cuddly duddlies”) and his family, which included many close friends. His inexhaustible curiosity inspired his loved ones to live vigorously with open minds and open hearts.

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