Joseph ‘Joe’ Gomez
Duty, Honor, Country.
Born on Sept. 18, 1944, in Van Nuys to Enedino Gomez and Esperanza Martinez, longtime resident of Lone Pine, Joseph Gomez, unexpectedly passed away at home on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. He was 69 years of age. He leaves behind his wife of 44 years, Sharilyn Joy Weishaar. They were the proud parents of three children, Brian, David (Kimberly Trefsgar), and Brenda (Ryan Benavidez); and four grandchildren, Chase, Kaitlin, Andrew and Emily. He loved his grandchildren, and they loved their grandfather. The house in Lone Pine has a room devoted for use by the grandchildren. Above everything, he loved his family, and its history. He was tremendously proud of his ancestry, wanting to learn as much as he could.
Joseph spent his childhood living in Keeler, Owenyo and Lone Pine, along with his brothers, Paul (Gloria Romero), and Steven (Connie Goins), living in those places, because his father worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. He attended Lo-Inyo Elementary School from 1st through 8th grades, and graduated from Lone Pine Union High School in June 1962. In high school, Joe was very active in athletics and other extracurricular activities like student government, where he served as student body vice-president. He played Little League baseball for the White Sox team. While in high school, he was very hard-working, finding a part-time job at a local service station, pumping gas and performing light automotive maintenance work. He purchased a car, spending lots of time under its hood tinkering.
After high school he enrolled and completed course work at Antelope Valley College. Eventually Joe went to work for The Gas Company. In August 1965, he answered the call of his Country, serving in the U.S. Army, including one 12-month tour in Vietnam. He was assigned to the 48th Air Assault Helicopter Company, as a door gunner. In retirement, Joseph never forgot the sacrifice of his fellow soldiers in Vietnam, by riding his motorcycle, with Sharilyn, for four consecutive years in the annual Run For The Wall, departing with several hundred motorcyclists from Rancho Cucamonga to Washington D.C., gathering at the Vietnam Veteran’s Wall on Memorial Day.
Shortly after his honorable discharge, Joseph entered the Los Angeles Police Academy, graduating in June 1968. Shortly after completing the police academy, Joseph met Sharilyn, a registered nurse, during their work. On May 24, 1969, they were married, in Granada Hills. He served on the LAPD for 31 years, retiring as a motor officer. This was a public service that Joseph always valued. Besides numerous citations for outstanding performance, during this period, one of his proudest accomplishments was completion of his college work, graduating from Los Angeles Valley College with an Associate of Arts degree.
Without a doubt Joseph loved his hometown, purchasing a second home in Lone Pine, a few years ago. He spent many hours “fixing-it up.” He did so cheerfully. As time permitted, he would pursue one of his passions, fishing in the local creeks. As a strong supporter of his home town, he was a member of VFW Post 8036 (Lone Pine), the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Historical Society, Carson & Colorado Railway, Inc., Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Society, Eastern California Museum, Lone Pine Film Museum and Lone Pine High School Booster Club.
Joseph’s ability to touch people is clearly evident in the outpouring of affection by family members and friend’s present, resulting in standing room only at his memorial service that was held on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at Mission Hills Catholic Mortuary in Mission Hills. The patriotic services included presentations of the American flag to Joseph’s widow by the Los Angeles Police Department, and the U.S. Army, a bagpipe tribute and taps. His family was escorted to and from the services by LAPD motor officers.
On Saturday, Nov. 2 at 11 a.m., Joseph’s ashes will be inurned at the Mt. Whitney Cemetery in Lone Pine. Joseph will have returned home, to be at the place that he prized so much. He would have liked that.
Among your tears, if you listen carefully, you might be able to hear carried along in the soft winds of the Owens Valley, Joseph’s sunny, playful and wholehearted voice, as he grew from childhood to manhood.