Family remembers Josh Gomez for the happiness he created
June 14, 2018
Joshua Gomez's cousins described him as "full of laughter and jokes," a proud man whose head was always held high no matter the circumstances, a "lover of life," a caring and loving father.
"I truly feel his purpose in life was to create happiness, as he did in so many lives," his cousin Angel Argueta wrote in his obituary.
"It's hard to write this knowing he is probably making fun of me right now for trying to be respectfully cut and dry," she added.
Gomez, 28, of Rifle, was identified Monday as the man found dead on an island in the Colorado River near Parachute the afternoon of June 9. Authorities are still seeking information as to his whereabouts before his death, and how he ended up in the river. He was last seen at a bus stop in New Castle around May 25, officials said.
Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire said there were no apparent injuries or trauma to the body. The cause and manner of death are pending forensic exams.
Argueta said her cousin had no filter. He often had a way of forcing people to laugh at themselves, teaching others not to take things so seriously.
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She said she was the youngest of her cousins, "The outcast if you will." Gomez was older by two years and always tried to include her.
"At so many moments in my life I can remember the comfort of knowing if I ever needed someone to back me up or defend me, I had him."
The two lived in different parts of the state, and as they got older, they kept in touch by mail. She says she kept some of the letters.
They became estranged for some time and reconnected when the two moved across the street from each other.
He always made sure she knew her own value, she said, and always called her beautiful.
In fact, that was the last thing he said to her.
"When we got together, your face would hurt and your gut," said Jason Gomez, Josh's other cousin.
"Everyone has ups and downs in their lives," he said, but, "No matter what it was he was always looking up."
Josh Gomez was just one month shy of his 29th birthday. His family is still looking for answers.
He left behind four children, Jazmin, Joshua, Joseph, Janelle "Jojo" Gomez, and his wife, Tanya Gomez. Based on their religious faith, his family believes he's with his fifth child, Angela, who died at birth.
His cousins described his wife, Tanya, as always there for him.
"She's just ride or die, that's the best way I could put it," Jason Gomez said.
Josh was born to Joseph Gomez and Louise Sisneros in Rangley, Colorado, and was raised in the San Luis Valley, where most of his family still lives.
He spent his final years in the Roaring Fork Valley and will be buried at Gomez Cemetery in Gomez, Colorado, a ghost town named after his long list of relatives.
Mass will be held in Capulin, Colorado at 11 a.m., and the family says it's working to host a separate reception in the Roaring Fork Valley at a later date. Argueta says many in the community knew and loved Gomez.
The Gomez family has a long lineage, and two mountains called Gomez Peaks are also named after the family. "There's a family line out there that's been there forever," Jason Gomez said.
"Everything has been a tradition when it comes to burying our own. If you're a Gomez, you're buried there," he said of the now vacant town that used to be one block long, with one school, and one store, when his parents were children.
Josh worked in the oil and gas business, as do a large number of his family members.
He was always the youngest of the Gomez's to fish, hunt and play sports alongside older family members.
"He grew up really fast. He had to. He was a strong man." Jason Gomez said.
There's a GoFundMe page set up to cover the costs of the funeral at Gomez Cemetery and for an additional reception the family will set up closer to Rifle. https://www.gofundme.com/gomez-family-funeralfinancial-supp
"It's an unbearable ache to know that he isn't with us anymore," Argueta said.
"Life is a little quieter. Music just doesn't have its same effect without a backup dancer," she said of her deceased cousin.
The family is in shock, Jason Gomez said. "There's a lot of wondering what happened," he said, adding that the family only has the same information the public has.
"There's a lot of questions and concerns about the whole situation. We just don't know what to expect from this whole situation," Argueta added.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Coroner's Office investigator at 970-665-6335.