Maria Catalina Garcia Gonzales, better known as Cathy, passed away, with her family by her side, on May 7, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona, after a long battle with Pancreatic and Liver Cancer. Cathy is survived by her husband, Joe; children, Stephanie (John) Rice and Leticia (Alex) Jovanovic; grandchildren, Gage, Zoë, and Kaylee; her brother, Jesus “Jess” (Betty) Garcia.
Cathy was born on October 1, 1952, to Rosario and Sixto Garcia in Safford, Arizona. After Cathy graduated from San Manuel High School in 1970, she went on to study at Central Arizona College and Arizona State University earning an Associates Degree, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, and a Master’s Degree. While at ASU, Cathy played Varsity badminton, and eventually was an assistant coach for the team, which had a future Olympian, who she personally trained. She played for multiple softball teams, including the Sun City Saints that was practically the national team at the time. Cathy was also inducted into the San Manuel High School Hall of Fame. Cathy went on to teach Physical Education at Arrowhead Elementary School in Paradise Valley, Hayden Elementary School in Hayden, and Central High School in Phoenix. She coached volleyball, badminton, basketball, and softball at the high school levels, as well as coached softball at Scottsdale Community College. Cathy has been able to win State Championships and National Championships, in addition to being named and coaching All-Americans. Through athletics, she has had the opportunity to travel to many places around the world and the United States, including Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, and multiple states. Cathy met and married Joe Gonzales while attending Central Arizona College. Cathy and Joe went on to have two children, Stephanie and Leticia (“Lettie”). In 2007, Cathy retired and spent her time taking care of her grandchildren, and enjoying her hobbies: reading, playing badminton, playing on the computer, scrapbooking, and sewing.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Agnes Catholic Church on Friday, May 27, 2022, at 10:00 AM. Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com
Mrs. Gonzales changed my life and was the best mentor when I was growing up in high school. She saw my talent and made it sprout. I will forever love and cherish you Mrs. Gonzales. The world was a better place with you in it.
Joe and Yolanda Conchos
Our sincere condolences to The Gonzales family. Cathy was a great coach to our two daughters Gina and Lisa in Softball and Badminton during their years at Central High School. Coach Gonzales will be greatly miss. May she Rest In Peace✝️
Coach Frank Denogean
Our prayers and condolences go out to Cathy and the entire family! May she Rest In Peace! May God watch over your family always.
Cuco and Vera Huerta
Joey and Girls and of course the rest of her family, we are deeply sadden that Cathy has left but we will meet again some day! Our deepest and sincere Condolences to all of you! In our thoughts and Prayers!
My prayers and condolences go out to Cathy’s family. I had the privilege of teaching Leticia in junior high (Papago Elementary School) physical education. It’s east to see why Leticia was such a good person to teach. Great parents. Wishing you nothing but the best on your heavenly journey Ms. Gonzales. Godspeed Leticia
Cathy Thornton Brown
How do you put into words a person who has supported and positively impacted so many young women (and probably men)… Coach Gonzalez was a masterful coach who didn’t care where you came from, but expected 100% each day. In return she gave us 100% of herself and taught us work ethic, commitment and love for team and softball .
I have thought about her many times in my work traveling the world. She taught me to get up and commit to others selflessly. Im lucky to have gotten to play for such a great woman, and I will miss her. Thanks Coach…
To Joe, Stephanie and Lettie, May God wrap you in his arms and carry you through this difficult time.
To our brother Joey, nieces Steph and Lettie and their families, please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of a wonderful person. Our hearts are broken and mourn with you. We know she’s pain free and was received with open arms, in Heaven, by her parents and the rest of her loved ones. May God continue to embrace you all during these trying times.
We love you,
Gary and Mercy Burnstad