The family of Daniel J. Gonsalves has been blessed with the life of their husband, father, brother, son and friend. Dan will be missed by many and remembered by even more. His illness was sudden and he passed peacefully on February 25, 2013.
Dan was born September 24, 1931 in Turlock, California. He was a Turlock resident all his young life. After Turlock High School, he attended Modesto Junior College and graduated with scholastic honors, and continued his education at San Jose State University graduating 5th in his class in 1953. He served for the U.S. Army Occupation Forces in German from 1953-1955 and later attended Stanford University and received his Masters Degree in Education with scholastic Honors in 1956. He taught and coached at Modesto High School from 1956 to 1961 and then helped open Grace Davis High School in 1961. He taught physical education, health and math and over the years and served as Head Football Coach and Head Wrestling coach for 17 years. He served as the site athletic director at Davis for 21 years while also working simultaneously as District Athletic Chairperson for 18 of those years. After retirement in 1996, and to his death he continued to be the Modesto City School District Athletic Director. He directed and taught the mandated CIF Coaching Certification Program. He served the community of athletics with great pride and incredible integrity.
Dan’s life was full of many great achievements and recognition including: 1989 Sac Joaquin Athletic Director of the Year; 1990 California Athletic Director of the Year; 1995 California Coaches Association Hall of Fame; 2002 Sportsman of Stanislaus Darrell Phillips Award for longevity and service to athletics in Stanislaus County; 2009 California Wrestling Hall of Fame; and the Sac Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2012. His greatest passion and highest honor included supporting and mentoring others to be their best.
He was married for 53 years to Chella, local artist and retired art educator for the MCS. He and his wife have three grown married children Jean Ann Smith (Jeff), JJ Gonsalves (Jean), and Joyce Mitchell (Tracy). The family is grateful for the dozens of friends who supported and admired Dan. His grandchildren all grieve with great loss of their Grandpa/Poppi whom they admired and loved so much; Jessica Smith (New Zealand), Kelsey Smith (UCSB), Paige Smith (UCD), Tylor Gonsalves (Calaveras HS), Sydney Smith (Gregori HS), Haley Gonsalves (Calaveras HS), Abigail Mitchell (Vacaville HS), and Isabelle Mitchell (Browns Valley Elementary, Vacaville). He is also survived by his sister Clare Gonsalves, sister and brother in laws as well as nieces and nephews throughout the central valley and across the United States. He is preceded in death by his parents Frank and Maria Gonsalves, brother Frank Gonsalves, and Uncle Frank J. Souza and nephew Dennis Gonsalves.
Visitation will be at March 3rd from 3 to 6pm at Franklin and Downs, 1050 McHenry Ave, Modesto. Funeral Mass March 4th 9:30am St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1813 Oakdale Rd. Modesto. His final resting place will be at Turlock Memorial Park following mass. To send condolences to the family please visit www.franklindownsfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks in “Dan style” to donate to your favorite charity.