At 2:04 p.m., on Oct. 27, 2012, Michael Ray Gonzales, born Feb. 24, 1954, our sweet Pompie, Pops and Dad slipped peacefully into eternity to walk with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, no doubt on those Streets of Gold he used to speak of with anticipation and that sparkle in his eye. Suddenly, swiftly and unexpectedly he left us in presence but in spirit he still abides. His infectious laughter, his sense of humor and all the sermons and long prayers that he always prayed will remain with us forever. With a beautiful and peaceful departure, he left us empty with shoes only he could fill. He rose to overcome many adversities to become the perfect example of God’s grace, mercy and love. A loyal and supportive son, brother, father, grandfather and father to even the fatherless … he was TRULY a man after God’s own heart. Loving and encouraging at EVERY meet is what we will remember with a smile. Charming and persuasive with his heart of gold, he made friends with ease everywhere he would go with a genuine offer of friendship and concern. A kind and joyful heart, his constant prayer was for all to be saved by the same grace and mercy that had itself saved him, demonstrated by sincere concern and empathy for those in need. Hand in your hand, we asked you to stay, our sincerest wish that you might remain … we kissed your forehead, wished you well on your journey and you took your last breath … You made it, Pompie!! Your eyes, which closed to this world, are now opened to the eternal blessing for those with such a heart as yours … Thank you for loving us, praying for us and taking care of us all of those years … We promise to make you proud, work hard and love the Lord with all of our might, with all of our hearts and all of our strength, as we know you would wish … Michael served honorably in the United States Army between 1971-1974, during which time he was stationed in Germany. He thereafter served as an on- duty civilian fireman at Fort Bliss Army base in El Paso, Texas, from 1974-1977. Between 1977-1982, he was an owner/general manager of a successful family business that had been established in the late 1940s in Roswell. Retiring from the family business, Michael moved to Albuquerque, where he worked as a counselor and mentored fellow veterans from 1982-1985. From 1986-1987, he worked and managed in the food and services industry. In 1988, he met and married Esther Ruiz and started a family and discovered his passion for trade and merchantry. Michael’s friendly demeanor and magnetic personality transcended through his talent as an exceptional merchant seller and trader of furniture and jewelry and was well known and very loved in the trading and selling community in Albuquerque. He enjoyed playing pool but especially enjoyed playing basketball and would never back down from a challenge from even “the youngsters.” He is remembered by his friends as a fun loving and kind individual, always willing to lend a helping hand or word of advice and prayer. He will be sorely missed. He was preceded in death by his father Fred Montoya Gonzales and grandmother Anna Chavez. He is survived by his daughter Cari Ann Gonzales and boyfriend Mike Reed, who were expecting their first child Michaela in November; daughter Jessica O. Chavez and husband Steve, and children, Isaac, Sierra and Israel; daughter Marilyn Elizabeth Gonzales and mother Esther; daughter Rena Gonzales Maestas, and child Samantha Maestas, and son in-law Tom Maestas; mother Mary C. Gonzales; and siblings, Fred Gonzales and wife Norma, Cecilia and husband Chuck Viverette, Richard Gonzales and wife Lydia, Tommy Gonzales and wife Rosie, Deedee and husband Clifton Neal. Services are to be held at 10 a.m., Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at Church on the Move, 901 W. Brasher Road, Roswell, NM 88203, followed by procession then reception to also be held at Church on the Move. All considerations and donations can be made to Marilyn or Cari Gonzales c/o Ballard Funeral Home, 910 S. Main St., Roswell, NM 88203. Albuquerque services where Michael presided and was well loved are to be announced.