Residents hold impromptu procession for ‘Coach Lou’
“Coach Lou,” as he was known in the community, died on Tuesday, March 24, of complications from the coronavirus, according to a family member’s posting on Facebook.
The relative wanted to give a warning about the dangers of the virus and the devastating effects it can have on the victims and their loved ones, urging people to take social distancing seriously. “Hopefully this written word can help everyone realize that as this pandemic continues, we eventually all might be within just one or two degrees of separation from someone whose health might be affected by coronavirus,” the relative posted.
“We moved back to the Saint Tarcissus community over 15 years ago. Right away Louie got involved with coaching football and baseball for Saint Tars and Norwood Park. During the basketball season Louie was at every game watching his son Tommy and all the kids play,” his wife, Laura McManus Gonzales, said.
“He was always willing to help anybody with anything, (including) snow removal for his neighborhood block. More than anything he really took pride in coaching and loved watching the kids grow. “He was a proud member of Local 17 and worked for the Chicago Park District,” she said. Saint Tarcissus pastor Mike Grisolano said that Mr. Gonzales was 60 years old and that the parish plans to hold a service honoring the coach when it is safe to hold public gatherings.
“Louie Gonzales was a beloved husband, father and son. He also served as a dedicated coach and mentor to many in our community. He will be sorely missed by many in the Saint Tarcissus community and by all who had the pleasure of knowing him,” Alderman Jim Gardiner (45th) said.
Area resident and Chicago police lieutenant John Garrido said that text messages among residents led to the idea of residents driving on March 25 to the parking lot of the former Produce Center, 5820 N. Milwaukee Ave., and forming a line of about 30 to 40 vehicles which would drive past the family home, where a memorial in front of the house was set up.
Garrido said that the procession allowed residents to pay their respects while following social distancing guidelines, knowing that a public visitation would not be allowed due to the pandemic. “This is the new normal,” Garrido said of the challenges facing communities.