Serving the community since 1922

Kino Gonzalez leaves a legacy, one letter at a time

Shafter lost a great friend recently, with the passing of Longino (Kino) Gonzalez, at the age of 92.

Gonzalez is best known around town for his cheerful disposition and caring attitude, working for the U.S. Post Office for over 36 years. Gonzalez hadn't even thought about the Post Office for the first half of his life, toiling in the fields and making a living for him and his family, until one day someone asked him if he had ever thought about trying for a job there. Gonzalez had found his calling, and he was everyone's favorite mail carrier for the next three decades.

He had a steel trap for addresses, not forgetting your address, no matter how long it had been. When Michael Schroeder, the publisher of The Shafter Press, paid a visit to the office last year, he met Gonzalez and asked him if he remembered growing up in town 50 years ago. Gonzalez didn't hesitate, saying, "Sure, Pine Street, 230 Pine Street to be exact."

Gonzalez will be remembered by so many people that he made a lasting impression on that it would take a book to tell all of the memories that residents could share about this special man. But, the people that can tell it the best are his children, who had the fortune of having this man in their lives every day. Oldest daughter Christina Smart said that she will always cherish her time with her father and his impact that he had on her life and the lives of her children. "But, what I will remember most are the quiet times at home, with him sitting on the floor, all of us gathered around the television, watching as a family. "She said that there were only three channels at the time, but the shows were good. Smart said that Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Lawrence Welk, Ed Sullivan and Candid Camera were their favorites.

Daughter Andrea Hernandez added, "My dad was a great and faithful man who loved the Lord and his family. He was so quick-witted and to this day people still talk about his sense of humor and his delicious sarcasm." Hernandez said that her dad had to go through some hard times, but he always kept his faith and his strength from God. This was especially true when Kino lost his oldest son, who passed away last year. "My dad would say that he thanked God that he had his oldest son for 63 years. He would say that a lot of people don't even have that long with their children, and he felt blessed."

Kino Gonzalez Jr. said before his passing last year, "My dad has always been my role model and he taught me to have faith in God and to be proud of our country. He has been there for me and my family whenever we need help in any way, without hesitation."

Many people in town would echo those sentiments.


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