Great-Grandpa George Gomes (22 Feb 1925 - 17 Nov 1998) His first name is George, and there is a story for that. Great-Grandpa was born the youngest of eight children to Portuguese immigrants on February 22, 1925 in Oakland, CA. At the time, his parents (Victorino Gomes (17 Nov 1882 - 29 Jan 1852) and Maria Jose de Sousa (15 Sep 1885 - 6 Jul 1966)) had run out of names after naming the previous eight children, seven of which were boys. The parents left it to the children to come up with Great-Grandpa’s name and of course they chose George.
In the 1930 Census, the family was living in Oakland at 9305 Holly Street. My Great-Grandfather’s only Sister, Mary Gomes (27 Apr 1912 - 15 Jun 1989) lived in the home until her death. Daddy remembers going to her home as a child and spending time there while Great-Grandpa fixed things for his sister. Daddy still has silver dollars given to him by Aunt Mary when he was a young boy.
Great-Grandpa was educated by the Oakland Unified School District. Daddy knows that he went to elementary school in Oakland, however, he is not sure of the exact school. He also know that he attended Elmhurst Junior High School. Sometime between 1937 and 1939, Great-Grandpa met Great Grandma (GG) at Elmhurst. They graduated from Junior High School and attended Castlemont High School. They married in January of 1943 at the age of 17-years old. They were married for fifty six years.
Great-Grandpa enlisted into the United States Army on 18 Jun 1943, five months and nine days after his marriage to GG. Six months later, in November of 1943, my Great-Aunt Judy Gomes (30 Nov 1943 - 21 Sep 1999) was born. They had two more children in 1946 and 1949.
In 1949, Great-Grandpa, began building a new home in Castro Valley, CA. The home was built on the back of GG’s parent’s property. The home was completed in 1950 and was built at a total cost of approximately $5000.00. It was initially a two bedroom home. It was also apparently a kit home. However, in the typical Portuguese Fashion, the home was quickly customized and a bedroom and another bathroom was added. Additionally, a carport and workroom was added. GG still lives in this home and is the oldest and longest living resident on our street.
In the same year, Great-Grandpa was hired by a local grocery store as a truck driver. He drove for Safeway Grocery Stores for 35 years. During his tenure at the company he was known for having an outstanding safety record. His brother was also employed by Safeway Grocery for approximately the same amount of time. In 1985, approximately three weeks before he retired, his truck was parked in a local parking lot. As was the norm for the truck drivers in that time period, he had left his truck running with the door locked and someone broke into the truck and stole the rig. The trailer was later found in Oakland and the rig was found in Richmond, CA. He was suspended for the final days of his employment. There is more speculation to this story, but we will let that rest.
From his retirement in 1985 until his death in 1998, Great-Grandpa and GG spent many years traveling in the fifth wheel camper driving all over the Western United States. They also traveled the world, both on cruise ships and by air. They went to Europe on numerous occasions and Portugal.
Great Grandpa passed away peacefully in his home on 17 Nov 1998. Ironically, it would have been his father’s 113th Birthday. He was also the third person that was close to daddy to pass away on that day. Daddy has not worked on November 17th ever since.