Gilbert Cajetan Marquez Obituary:
Gilbert Cajetan Marquez, 79, of Pitman, passed peacefully away on September 1, 2006 at home after a lengthy illness. He was born on August 7, 1927 in Alamosa, Colorado, and lived in Sacramento, California and Wayne, Pennsylvania, before moving to Pitman in 1970. He was a Civil Engineer, with a degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and held a variety of posts in the aerospace industry before becoming Director of Engineering for British Petroleum’s terminals in the Northeast.
In his retirement he was an active member of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Pitman, and was a past officer of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He was a member of Catholic Golden Age, helped run the food pantry at Our Lady Queen of Peace, and delivered Meals on Wheels to shut-ins in the community. He prepared income tax returns for senior citizens as an AARP volunteer, and was a long-term volunteer at the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God School for Special Children in Westville.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Lorraine Ferland Marquez, originally from Middlebury, Vermont. Gilbert and Lorraine met in Denver, Colorado, and were married in Rome, Italy on July 1, 1955. He is survived by their children, Gilbert J. Marquez (Jeanette) and Rita M. Williams (Richard) of Pitman; Susanna L. Marquez (Scott) of Newark, Delaware; and Lorraine M. Chapman (John), of West Hartford, Connecticut.
He is also survived by brothers Roque and Lawrence Marquez, and sister Lucy Ruybal, all of Littleton, Colorado; sister Fede Maestas, of Gooding, Idaho; brother Raymond Marquez, of Walnut Creek, California; and sister Geraldine Banks, of Huntingdon Beach, California. His brother Gabriel Marquez, and sisters Mary Newman and Carmen Lynch predeceased him. A son, Paul, predeceased him.
He is survived by 12 grandchildren, including Maria and Anita Marquez; Isabel, Amalia, Gabriel, and Gilbert Williams, all of Pitman; Patrick, John, and Paul Driscoll, of Newark, Delaware; and Leah, Keith, and Peter Chapman, of West Hartford, Connecticut.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. at our Lady Queen of Peace, 161 Pitman Avenue, Pitman. Friends and family may call at the church one hour before. Cremation will be private. Funeral arrangements by KELLEY FUNERAL HOME, 125 Pitman Avenue, Pitman.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Our Lady Queen of Peace, 161 Pitman Ave., Pitman, NJ 08071.
Published in the Gloucester County Times on 9/3/2006.
Gilbert Marquez Eulogy by his son “Chico”
Thu Sep 7, 2006 11:12
Here's the eulogy I delivered yesterday. The spoken version included a few "ad-libs" not shown here, but largely hewed to the following:
On behalf of our family, thank you all for coming. My father would be pleased, and a wondering just a little about what all the fuss was about.
We’re all here because we were touched in some way by this extraordinary man. I’d like to take a few minutes, and tell you about him - maybe help you understand how he became the wonderful man he was.
Dad was born in August of 1927 in Alamosa - in the high and austere San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. The son of Jose Florencio Marquez and Amalia Cordova Marquez, he was born into a land, culture, and language resonant with 17th and 18th century colonial Spain. He was proud of his heritage, but not prideful, and was always mindful of the long and rich history he was heir to.
The years in Alamosa - growing up in a landscape of far-away horizons and snowcapped mountains - growing up surrounded by a large but close and loving family - those years created the character and personality we all came to love.
With dad it was family that came first - first his parents and brothers and sisters, and later his own. Dad was one of 10 children, six live today, and four are here with us today: Larry, his sisters Gerry and Lucy, and his beloved brother Ray. Close in age, dad and Ray were inseparable in their youth (roaming the Valley together in a variety of conveyances ranging from a donkey cart to a car they owned together as teenagers) , and stayed close as they shared the milestones of love, marriage, children, and retirement. He loved all of you.
Three of his siblings have gone before - his oldest brother Gabriel, lost when his B-24 Liberator ditched in the North Atlantic, damaged by German anti-aircraft fire, and more recently his beautiful sisters Mary and Carmen.
His oldest sister Fede and older brother Roque are not able to travel, but are with us today in mind and spirit.
And it is my Aunt Gerry who is responsible setting my dad on the course that he was made for - husband and father.
In her youth, my mother Lorraine, loved to ski (as you would think a native of Middlebury, Vermont would). A couple of warm, dry winters in the east convinced her that Denver might be more conducive to continuing her skiing and nursing career. By this time dad’s family had left the Valley for Denver, and it was in Denver that a doting sister (who would become Aunt Gerry) saw in Lorraine a perfect match for her shy, retiring brother.
Mom and dad’s introduction, courtship, and marriage reads very much like a fairy tale - at the time dad was working in Saudi Arabia for Aramco, and happened to be home on vacation when Aunt Gerry arranged that introduction. They have both told me that the attraction was strong, mutual and instantaneous.
Their courtship took place largely by letter - mom in Denver and dad in Saudi Arabia. On July 1, 1955 they met (mom from Denver, and dad from Arabia), and were married in the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome, Italy - a not-inconsiderable journey that was noted in the print and television media of the day.
The stage was then set for their 51-year love affair - a marriage that shines for us as a beacon of hope and love to which we can all aspire - a marriage that is the ultimate example of what a marriage can and should be. They were truly partners and equals - as deeply and profoundly in love at the end as they were at the beginning.
And for you cousins who have asked over the years, yes, it is very cool having Uncle Bubbles as a father. My father’s nickname within the family was Uncle Bubbles - a nickname gained by his ability to amuse himself as a child by blowing bubbles.
My father and my sisters - Sue, Lorri, and Rita - were particularly close in that special way that fathers and daughters are. They were his “punkins”, and even into their 30\'s and 40\'s my sisters were not shy about curling up in his lap, as if the years had vanished, and they were once again little.
Our spouses - Jeanette, Rich, John, and Rick - and their families were welcomed unconditionally into the family by mom and dad. Once again, it was family that mattered, and you were more than welcome to join ours. My wife, Jeanette, seemed to hold a special place in his heart - she became his fourth daughter, in a heart with capacity for an infinite number of daughters.
Children are exacting judges of character - that is why most photographs of my father show him surrounded by children. I had some inkling of the power of Uncle Bubbles from my cousins, but I truly realized his magical character when I saw how my daughters, and my sisters’ children unconditionally and absolutely adored him and my mother.
Even at the end of his life - with dad struggling to speak, stand, or walk - the arrival for his daily visit at their apartment of the 12th grandchild, Rita’s youngest, Gilbert John, would prompt a joyful cry of “pop-pop” from young Gilbert’s lips, and a chuckle from my father’s. And that tired, ill, and aged man would find a way to lower himself to the floor for some quality playtime with his grandson.
My father the engineer designed suspension bridges, missile parts, spacecraft ground handling equipment, and petroleum distribution systems in a career that spanned the continent. First, Sacramento, California, then Wayne, Pennsylvania, and finally in 1970, here, to Pitman, the place we’ve come to call home.
I think it was his last job, with British Petroleum, that he found most satisfying - he stayed in touch with his co-workers, and spoke with quiet satisfaction about the work he did, and with affection for the people he knew. I had a chance to accompany him on trips to some of BP’s terminals, summertime road trips with just the two of us that opened my eyes to his skill as an engineer and compassion as a boss.
It was in retirement that my mother and father seemed to blossom. With the kids gone and out of the house, with the pressures of the workday world done and over with, their love deepened and enriched into something marvelous to see. They traveled extensively, and reveled in their ability to simply pack up and hit the road. They took long camping road trips through the West, they jumped on buses for tours, took a cruise to Alaska. In the Church’s Jubilee year of 2000, they returned to Rome with his sister Carmen, and the church they had been married in 45 years before.
Retirement become the time to give to the community - mom and dad delivered Meals on Wheels to shut-ins, dad was active in St. Vincent de Paul, and with AARP was a volunteer tax preparer for senior citizens. They found time to landscape this church. Indeed, dad seemed most content with dirt under his fingernails, and the warm spring sun on his back as he worked the soil.
The last few years of dad’s life were not easy. The uncomplaining grace with which he accepted his lot speaks volumes about the depth and unquestioning nature of his faith. For my father, faith was not trotted out on Sunday, and was not a burning intellectual question - faith was as simple and easy and central to his being as breathing. His faith informed every waking minute of every day of his entire life.
So he is gone, but he is not gone. Four children, a dozen grandchildren, six brothers and sisters, 45 or so nieces and nephews will all keep the gentle spirit of Uncle Bubbles alive. Most importantly, he lives on, reflected in the heart, mind, and soul of his loving wife, my mom.