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Father killed by Covid described as a man of books, music and family

A former Salvadoran revolutionary, a bookmaker a father, a husband, an aspiring playwright, and a trained biochemist, J. Hector Gonzalez lived a rich life full of twists and turns. That life was cut short this spring by Covid-19 at age 58.

Gonzalez was born in El Salvador in 1961, and as a teenager became involved with the rebels in the country’s civil war against the military-led government. As the movement for democratization formed in the late 1970s, Gonzalez joined as an educator, teaching people why the fight for freedom was important and what they were up against.

As the conflict escalated, Gonzalez fled to Mexico, where he studied biochemistry, but he gave that up and eventually made his way to the United States.

In 1986, he met his future-wife, Janet, in the singing class of a Puerto Rican traveling theater.

“The teacher loved him, loved the way he sang. All the girls would go crazy over him,” Janet said. “We would go for coffee after rehearsals. After a few weeks he told me he was in love with me.” A few years later, they married and had two sons: Brian and Jake.

Hector Gonzalez, right with his wife and son, Janet and Jake.Courtesy Gonzalez family

The couple raised their kids in New York City, where being a dad was Gonzalez’s priority.

“He had different talents but he never pursued them all the way, because I think he saw the responsibility of being a husband and a father,” Janet said. “He put that first, so he just put his dreams on the back burner.”

Gonzalez entered the U.S. illegally, but he was pardoned by the Raegan administration and eventually become a citizen. For the last two decades of his life, Gonzalez worked for the at

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