|Family of Centenarian Octavio Gonzalez Celebrates With Fiesta |
Many noteworthy events happened in 1907 such as Oklahoma became a state, the ball dropped on Times Square to signal the New Year, Charles Curtis was the first Native American to be elected to the United States Senate and Octavio Gonzalez was born.
His birth occurred before Oklahoma became a state, before the first ball dropped to signal the New Year, and a few days after Curtis' election Saturday in Fort Stockton he celebrated his 100th birthday with his family and friends-nearly 300 of them. It was a fiesta of great proportions.
The festivities began at St. Joseph's Catholic Church where the family and Octavio attended a special mass of celebration for his remarkable lifetime.
Then adjourned to the Pecos County Civic Center for an old fashioned birthday party with all the trimmings. Octavio was placed in a king sized chair in the middle of the room with his children seated in a circle around him. The rest of the large family had tables around the center.
Spanish Mariachi music filled the room during the dinner, as the family congratulated Octavio on his reaching the 100 year milestone.
Born on January 19 on Rancho Corilitos near San Carlos in Mexico, Octavio had one brother and four sisters.
After growing up, Octavio married his first wife Maria and they started building their own rancho to about 50 acres in Cero Alto, Chihuahua, Mexico. In 1923 the couple crossed the border to Loving, New Mexico where one of Octavio's sisters had moved.
Giving part of the Mexico rancho to his son Jorge, the rest was sold, and Octavio became a ranch hand. The family moved to Midland, where he worked on the ranch of Ray Horton, Octavio recalls.
It was in 1976 he bought his first pick-up truck," he chuckled. "Before that I rode a mule."
Maria died in 1934, Octavio married Cora Venegas, February 5, 1949, they were married 57 years before her death at 91.
To what does Octavio attribute his long life?
"To God." He said.
Living in his own house, he exercises with a rowing type machine on a daily basis, and he still has a beer or drink of whiskey now and again. Still living a full life as he begins his second century.
Just a few days before Octavio was born President Theodore Roosevelt set a record for shaking 8,513 hands in one day. It was a record Octavio probably felt he was nearing as the party went on late into the afternoon on Saturday. With a dance planned for the evening it was an all day fiesta marking a century of life.
Octavio's family includes eight sons, 40 netos (grandsons) 76 great grand sons and 31 great-great-grand sons. The family name will be well preserved.