Robert Gonsalves, 91, of Elizabethtown passed away August 24, 2019 at Hardin Memorial Hospital with his family by his side. Known as Speedy, or Bob, to his friends, he was born to Peter and Helen Gonsalves in Makawao, Maui. Growing up, he enjoyed fishing and swimming in the ocean when he wasn't working on the family farm.
After graduating Saint Louis High School (Class of ’48), he began working for United Airlines. He met and married Irene, his loving wife of 62 years. He was subsequently drafted into the United States Army and quickly deployed to Korea. Upon his return, he decided to make the Army his career and was accepted into the “Boot Strap” program. Graduating from the University of Maryland, he was commissioned into the Signal Corps and went on to serve for over 20 years that included two tours in Vietnam where he was awarded two bronze stars. Retiring from the Army in 1969, he worked as a Civil Servant supervisor for 27 years.
Robert and Irene traveled and lived for several years in the Far East, namely Japan and South Korea. They also lived in Turkey for a short time and various military posts in the United States, including Hawaii.
When the time came, the family decided to put down roots in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Robert bought a house and a 50 acre tract of land. There he enjoyed tending to the cattle, turkeys, and chickens that he kept on the ranch. He particularly enjoyed watching the two wild peacocks and his mule, Zeb. The land and all the animals became a joyous place whenever the grandchildren would visit. He would give the grandkids wheelbarrow and tractor rides and would help them gather eggs from the multiple chicken coups he built.
In 1997, Bob and Irene decided to move closer to their children and grandchildren. They sold their home and ranch and moved to Kentucky. They volunteered many hours over the years with their church, helping every summer with the Vacation Bible School program.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife Irene, his parents, his aunts Mary and Francis, his brother Arthur, his sister Margaret Mary, and his grandson Ricky.
Survivors include his daughter Roberta (David), his sons Randall (Kathy) and Ryan (Janet), grandchildren: Robert Gonsalves, Randall Gonsalves, Michael McDermott, Brittany Stokes, John McDermott, Roger Gonsalves, Mary McDermott, Nathan Gonsalves, and Reid Gonsalves, and great-grandchildren: Heath and Ricky Gonsalves, Simon and Keiarra McDermott, Adeline and Charlotte Stokes, his brothers Peter and Alan, his sister Manu, and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 4:00 PM until 8:00PM Thursday at Chism Family Funeral Home, Vine Grove, KY and from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM Friday at St. Christopher Catholic Church, Radcliff, KY. There will be a prayer service 7:00 PM Thursday at the funeral home.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Mr. Gonsalves will be held 11:00 AM, Friday, August 30, 2019 at St. Christopher Parish, Radcliff, KY with Rev. Jeff Hopper officiating.
A graveside service with military honors will be held at 1:00 PM Friday at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central, Radcliff, KY.
To send flowers to Robert's family, please visit our floral section.