Gonzalo (Ray) Baca Lomeli

Gonzalo (Ray) Baca Lomeli, 97, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, journeyed home to meet his Lord and savior on April 27.

Surrounded by his loving family, Ray passed away peacefully of natural causes.

Ray was born to Guadalupe Lomeli and Teresa Baca on Jan. 10, 1923, in the sleepy desert community of Fertila, Calif.

Fertila was Ray's home for his first 10 years before his family moved to Blythe.

Living on South First St. in Blythe, young Ray befriended a neighbor who lived two houses over, Willie Sandoval.

Unbeknownst to Ray, Willie had a beautiful sister, Modesta.

Ray and Modesta fell in love, then tied the knot on Jan. 10, 1941.

They celebrated the anniversary of their marriage for 68 years until her passing in 2011.

Ray was a proud member of The Greatest Generation. He was drafted into the Army in 1943 in the heat of World War II and served in the European Theater in Central Europe with the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment.

After the war Ray remained in Paris for some months, lending his tired but able body helping the rebuilding effort of the French capital.

For this the French government awarded his regiment the prestigious Croix de Guerre medal.

He returned stateside to his beloved hometown of Blythe where Ray lived until the age of 62 when he retired from Charlie Graham Chevrolet and moved with Modesta to Banning.

The pair would move one more time to Hemet where they lived out their final years.

Gonzalo was preceded in death by his wife Modesta, parents Guadalupe and Teresa Lomeli, sons Richard and Albert, brothers Pete (Ambrose) Anastacio (Nellie), and brother-in-law Julian Hernandez.

Ray is survived by his sister Mary Hernandez, son Rudy and daughter Vivian (William Yanez.) Grandchildren Rudy Jr., Jackie (Pete Gonzalez,) Ronnie (Lynn,) Frankie (Silvia,) Anthony, Monica, Andreanna (Ken Vierra,) Tomas (Julia) Leslie (Bryce Guadan,) Chad (Josi) Rick (Melinda,) Brandy (David Castillo,) Neil( Jimi Beck,) Amy (David Zuniga,) Michael (Jessica,) Jale' (Danny Prieto), 27 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great-grandchildren.

Gonzalo will be interned at the Riverside National Cemetery at a later date.

A celebration of his life will also take place at a later time due to circumstances caused by COVID-19.

A very special thanks to Joel and Leonor of Hospice and to Rudy Lomeli Jr. who was his caregiver.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations to Hospice of Riverside County.

Published in Palo Verde Valley Times & Quartzsite

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