To all who knew her, Irene Gonzalez was a woman filled with loving kindness. And in as much as she gave, she was loved abundantly and cherished in the hearts of many. Irene counted her family as her greatest blessing, and she was always there for them with a listening heart and a shoulder to lean on. There was nothing Irene loved more than being surrounded by those she loved. Devout to her Catholic faith, she was a loving example of faithfulness, generosity, and compassion. A true blessing in the lives she leaves behind, Irene will be long remembered and dearly missed.
By 1947, the end of World War II continued to find families caught in a housing shortage. Many young couples beginning families of their own lived with family for a time while newly developed suburban neighborhoods were being built, and in high demand. The post war economy boomed as the need for consumer goods rose, and manufacturing jobs were plentiful. It was indeed a time of growth in the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as the need for industry, education, employment, and tourism thrived. Yet nestled along the Caribbean Sea in the city of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, the birth of Irene Malonado on March 13, 1947 filled the hearts of her parents, Evaristo and Candida Maldonado (nee Torres) with joy.
Raised in southern Puerto Rico in the city of Ponce, young Irene grew up in the area of what many referred to as, “The Pearl of the South”. The oldest of three, Irene was raised alongside her two siblings, Sonia and Jose, The family moved to Milwaukee in 1957. Irene’s father worked as a drill press operator while her mother was employed at Western Leather. Although her schooling only went through the 10th grade, Irene was a well liked girl who enjoyed the friendships of many. During her youth she was involved with Girl Scouts and the Drama Club at school. She even dressed as a Puerto Rican flag for a special occasion in Puerto Rico. Always quite talented, she enjoyed sewing and creating wedding crafts. Like many young girls of her generation, Irene loved Elvis Presley and never hesitated going to see his movies, even alone. When she was sixteen years old she and her sister went to a Beatles concert, and of course they were sure to have worn their favorite, white go-go boots!
Irene came to know love in the heart of Israel Gonzalez. Her first real love, the two were happily joined in marriage in 1965, at Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church and to their union they shared the love of four wonderful children, Richard, Israel Jr., Teresa, and Carmen. They lovingly raised their family in the states, having made the Milwaukee area their home. Irene enjoyed traveling with her family, especially to places to Puerto Rico to visit extended family, Niagara Falls, and Mackinac Island. She counted the greatest days of her life spent with her children and family.
Additionally blessed with 11 grandchildren, Irene’s love knew no bounds and they filled her heart with added joy. When her beloved Israel passed away in 2003 the loss left an empty space in Irene’s heart. With the love and support of her family and friends, she came to know love again when she met Eliezer Martinez. They made for the best companions and in 2013 they were married. The last years of Irene’s life were filled with happiness as she enjoyed and treasured their time together.
Throughout the years, Irene worked at several places including Woolworth Department Store, the post office, Plantronics, Kohl’s Department Store and as a secretary at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Irene was a hard working woman and put her heart and soul into everything she did. Her patient nature and giving heart were unique qualities appreciated by those who knew her well. In her free, Irene’s special interests included making dolls and capias, a type of corsage or favor for weddings. Irene found added enjoyment in her love for gardening and she always liked watching a good sci-fi movie.
Throughout her life, Irene remained a faith-filled woman. She was very involved in her church prayer group, “Circulo de Oracion” and even in this last year she was preparing to begin a prayer group for those in need. A priority in her daily life, she held her Catholic values close and lived them accordingly. She was God Mother to many children, or more affectionately known as “comadre”. Irene’s view of life included happiness, love and family. She expelled warmth and kindness, and was always caring for others. Deeply missed, the heart of Irene lives on in memory and the wonderful example she was to all.
Irene Gonzalez (nee Maldonado), age 70, of Milwaukee entered into eternal rest on Friday, November 24, 2017. The beloved wife of Eliezer Martinez and the late Israel Gonzalez, she was the cherished mother of Richard (Sonia) Gonzalez, Israel Jr. (Milly) Gonzalez, Teresa (Jose) Reyes, and Carmen (Jerry) Colon; loving grandmother of Clarissa, Enrique, Kayla, Jazmin, Christian, Max, Giovanni, Natalia, Andres, Jerry Jr., and Sebastian; dear sister of Jose Maldonado and Sonia Martinez. She is further survived by other relatives and friends.
Visitation Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 1927 N. 4th Street from 4:00 PM until time of the Funeral Mass at 7:00 PM. Entombment Holy Cross Cemetery. To share a favorite memory or photo of Irene and to sign her online guest book, please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com. Suminski Weiss Life Story Funeral Home is assisting the family 414-276-5122.