By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Patrick “Pat” Gonzales had a smile that would light up the world, if you could get him to show it. He enjoyed sports, music and the occasional dance, loved his family and friends unconditionally and was working to perfect the art of making a grilled cheese sandwich.
This is how Gonzales’ mother, Debbie Arguello Montano, described her son who died Thursday in Tucumcari, a victim of a shooting that is still under investigation by the New Mexico State Police.
Montano said her son who she affectionately called “Lil Pat” had a gentle soul and was always ready to help someone out be it with advice or giving them a ride. She said at times she would often joke with Gonzales asking him “Who do you think you are? Dr. Phil?”
Montano said she has found some comfort in one of his posts to a friend. She said “Lil Pat” was helping a friend deal with a loss and in his replies he said “Just remember, I’ll always be here for you.”
Montano said that was the type of person he was, he’d give you the shirt off his back if you asked him. She said few weeks ago she gave Gonzales money for lunch. After school he asked her what was for dinner and said he was hungry, Montano added.
“I kept wondering why he was so hungry because I had given him $10 for lunch,” Montano said. “Later ‘Lil Pat’ told me that he had bought another kid lunch and only ate fries.”
“Pat was so kind-hearted, you could not get him mad, you just could not do it no matter how hard you tried,” said his father, Patrick Gonzales.
Gonzales said his son never showed signs of being angry, but everyone could see how much he loved his family and friends. “He said family and friends meant the world to my son. I can remember him being dressed with his brother and sister Tristan and Trinity Gonzales in Pittsburgh Steeler gear ready to support our team,” Gonzales added.
Gonzales said supporting the Steelers was one of the close bonds he had with his son. He said the majority of the family were Dallas Cowboys fans. “We bought him a throw back ‘Bumble Bee’ Steelers jersey with his name and year of birth on it that he wore with pride,” Gonzales added.
“Even when he was being defiant and antagonizing his family about the Cowboys he did it with a smile,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said his son had recently taught Tristan and Trinity how to take selfies.
Montano said she had grown closer to “Lil Pat” this year by staying home to take care of her youngest son, Frankie Joe Montano.
“I do not regret it at all,” Montano said. “Staying at home these past six months gave me a chance to be closer to my boys and know them so much more.”
Montano said one day “Lil Pat” set out on a mission to show her that he could learn to cook. She said his first attempt, a grilled cheese sandwich did go so well. She said he called her into the kitchen saying his sandwich “doesn’t look right.” He buttered both sides of the bread; it was a soggy mess, but he would not throw it away and ate that sandwich.
Gonzales said when his son was at his house he would always ask for chicken fried steak. He said it was a meal that he always wanted and enjoyed.
Montano said her son was active school sports as a member of the Tucumcari Rattlers’ basketball, football and baseball teams. She said he was beginning to blossom socially this year as a young man. He had a girlfriend with whom he he enjoyed spending time, even if that meant he had to keep his room clean and wash the dishes to have gas money, Montano added.
Gonzales said Pat was enjoyed being in a boat on the water fishing. He said being outdoors always appealed to his son.
“He was so happy all the time, in fact one night after visiting with his girlfriend he came home and was in the kitchen singing and dancing while making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Montano said.
Montano said he also knew his grades had to remain high in order for him to keep the car he was driving. She said the conditions were if he got a D or an F then he would be hoofing it over to see his girlfriend.
“I knew he would keep his grades up. He was a hard worker. That is just part of his character,” Montano said.
Gonzales said from a young age, his son learned how to ride a horse and work hard. He said he had a strong work ethic. At the age of 15 his son learned how to weld and eventually they would go on to start their own company 5G Repair and Fabrications, Gonzales added.
Gonzales said his son was the typical kid when it came to work, he knew it had to be done but sometimes didn’t want to be at work. Although, he said he was sort of an entrepreneur in finding jobs for the business and sometimes finding jobs he’d talk his friends into doing with him.
Gonzales said there are so many memories he has about his son and what made him “Pat” on of which was when he lifted his eyebrow mimicking the pro wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He said there is so much to remember and so much he is going to miss.
Gonzales said his son was a country boy by heart. He said he spent time early on branding and even taught several of his friends how to ride.
“He’d call it teaching them how to be country,” Gonzales said. “He showed them a different world when they came out to the farm.”
Gonzales said the support from his son’s friends and the community has been overwhelming. He said you can see just how much he meant to them and the impact he had on their lives.
Montano said it has been such a trying time for her and the families but support local and statewide is so appreciated. She said there are still so many questions that we need answered and it means a lot to know we have so much support.