Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Good Bye Sonny

There are few things in this world that make my crusty old submariner heart actually want to weep. But last night I got a call from home from my dad about the death of a man who I have know for a lifetime, Sonny Gomez. The world is poorer for his passing.
He was a great American, a Great New Mexican, and a dear and much missed friend.
I will miss not going home and downing a cold margarita that he made. I will miss his wild stories of the Pecos valley in the 40's and beyond.

Rest In Peace Sonny,
I know that there is a plate of hot green enchilada's, a cold beer and your Red Thunderbird waiting for you. Say Hi to Momma Gomez for us.

I hope that I can find the happiness you had with your life.

Fermin "Sonny" Gomez
Fermin (Sonny) Gomez passed away at his home in Hagerman, N.M., on Monday, Feb. 4, 2008.

He was born June 20, 1929, in Loving, N.M., to Fermin Gomez Sr. and Estella Padilla Gomez, who preceded him in death.

Dad was a kind, loving and thoughtful person. He respected everyone and would help anyone in need.

He had a great sense of humor and enjoyed entertaining people. This was demonstrated by his willingness to dress in costumes for various holidays. Often times, he would dress in costume for days following holidays as well to bring laughter to as many customers as possible.

His motto was, "don't worry, be happy."

He so loved and believed in the Lord that he made an annual pilgrimage to Santuario de Chimayo in northern New Mexico. His father started this tradition, and upon his passing, Dad took it upon himself to continue the tradition.

His mother and father were most influential on his life.

His death will affect all who knew him.

In younger years he enjoyed farming in the Buffalo Valley east of Hagerman and was known to be one of the few who could farm successfully in that hard caliche soil.

In later years he was a business owner who truly enjoyed his profession as a nightclub owner. His career began in 1947 at El Gomez Club that was built by his mother and father. He treated all his customers as family and was always truly glad to see them. His family were his friends and his customers were his family.

His hobby was his business and his business was people with whom he loved spending time with.

He was raised in the Pecos Valley and had an incredible knowledge of the history of the land and people. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge with everyone.

In 1987, Bartender Magazine, a national publication, inducted him into the Bartender Hall of Fame, which became one of his proudest accomplishments.

He so loved his 1960 red Ford Thunderbird, which he purchased brand new off the showroom floor, that he could never bring himself to sell it.

He often said he was proudest of his two daughters who were not afraid of hard work.

He was a member of the United States Army and was a longtime member of the Artesia Moose Lodge.

He was an inspiration to his children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, friends and customers. As quoted by his grandchildren, "He was the best grandpa in the world." He was the "favorite uncle in the world" and "The greatest" by everyone else who knew him.

He made a good living but more importantly, he made a great life.

Surviving him are his wife, Elia Gomez; daughters Luana Harrell and husband Gary Harrell of Roswell, N.M., and Sonia Gomez of Hagerman, N.M.; one granddaughter Melana Boyd and husband Jason Boyd of Midland, Texas; grandsons Justin Gray and Staci Ennis of Roswell, N.M., Nathaniel Gray and Megan Anderson of Roswell, N.M., and USMC Sgt. Valerian Gomez and Audrey Olivas of Hagerman, N.M.; great-grandchildren Natalie and Eileen Gomez of Hagerman, N.M., Aidan Boyd of Midland, Texas, and Sydney Gray of Roswell, N.M.; one sister Olivia Reid of Dexter, N.M.; brothers Gilbert Gomez and wife Elsie of Hagerman, N.M., Bobby Gomez and wife Arcie of Sun City, Calif., Clancy Gomez and wife Karyn of Menefee, Calif., Edward Gomez and wife Minnie of Artesia, N.M., David Gomez and wife Phyllis of Carlsbad, N.M., Daniel Gomez and wife Sharon of Roswell, N.M., Joe Gomez and wife Beatrice of Chihuahua, Mexico, Billy Gomez and wife Jeannie of La Mesa, N.M.; a sister-in-law Mony Gomez of Albuquerque, N.M.; one uncle Bennie Padilla and wife Lorraine of Roswell, N.M.; three aunts Betty Cordova of Santa Rosa, N.M., Victoria Dutchover of Midway, N.M., and Maggie Lee Langenegger of Hagerman, N.M.; his beloved madrina, Flavia Cota, of Rio Rancho, N.M.; 30 nieces and nephews; hundreds of friends and several generations of customers.

Pallbearers will be his grandsons, Justin and Nathan Gray and Valerian Gomez, nephews Mark and Mario Reid and Joe Gomez Jr.

A rosary will be recited on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, located at 1111 N. Roselawn Ave., Artesia, NM, with funeral services to be held Friday at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Artesia, with burial to follow at Twin Oaks Memorial Park, 59 Lake Arthur Hwy., Artesia, NM.

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.


markreidart said...

Who are you?? I am Mark Reid...Sonny's Nephew. I grew up at the "G Club" with Fermin, Stella (My Grandparents) and Uncle Sonny. Thanks for writing what you did....

Anonymous said...

nmkeTo whomever wrote this kind message, I am his daughter, Luana Harrell. I wrote his obituary and would like to thank you for including it in your post. Dad made a great life for my sister, Sonia and me. Always something to laugh about, wise words to ponder and a father to be proud of. Yes, he was full of stories and never at a loss for words. He taught us life lessons and we are who we are because of him and my mother. He thought of everyone he met as a friend, he never knew a stranger. As was often said, "Sonny was Sonny", no pretense, not a prejudiced bone in his body. He lived life to the fullest. We should be so lucky. Won't you please identify yourself?

Nereus said...

I am the oldest son of Bill and Barbara from Roswell. Your mom Elia has a christmas card of my family on the North Shore in Hawaii. I spent most of my childhood around the Gomez Club with family and friends. I really miss the good times and the great green enchilada's. After 20 yrs in the navy still havent found anything near those. Sorry won't put the name out there in public, but if you leave an Email adress in the comments I will tell you more off line.

markreidart said...

I know who you are...remember me? Mark? Check out my web site at and e-mail me from the contact page. I'd love to catch up with you. I saw your mom & dad at the funeral. How's your little brother?