March 28, 1939 — March 29, 2013
Loretta was born on March 28, 1939, in Santa Cruz, Calif. She lived in a number of cities throughout California before moving to El Dorado County in the late 1980s. She was a hard worker, holding many different jobs since the time she was an adolescent in Sacramento. After moving to El Dorado County, she began her pursuit of a master’s degree as a marriage and family counselor. After earning her master’s degree, she worked for new Morning Youth and Family Services for 11 years. She loved to read, with a special love for mysteries. She also was an avid flower and herb gardener and decorative artist.
Loretta was of Osage and Cherokee heritage. She was very active in her Native community. She was a founding member of the Native American Resource Collaborative and a principal provider in the Wennem Wadati “Good Medicine” Program. She, along with several colleagues, facilitated talking circles for native students in many local public schools. She was a past member of the Foothill Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee and Festival of the Americas Pow Wow Committee. She attended many local native cultural events and activities as a participant and as a volunteer. She was a member of the Seventh Generation youth and adult drum group.
Loretta worked with native students in a number of capacities including as a mentor, advisor, teacher, counselor, honored elder and friend. Students and adults alike loved Loretta for her kindness, compassion, understanding and openness. She was non-judgmental and saw the best in everyone. Her genuine smile was a gift to all she encountered. She loved to attend native cultural arts and crafts activities at Foothill Indian Education. She encouraged participants, especially youth, to learn about their native culture and to explore the many types of native art and craft that native people developed. Loretta fit the ideal of an honored elder. She was very friendly and open and shared her wisdom freely with others when asked, but never imposed her views or feelings on others. Her native community knew that she could always be counted on to be a role model and a loving presence.
Loretta is survived by her husband, Richard Gonzalez; her children, Deborah Lacey and Barbara Kempton; sisters, Alberta, Barbara Ann, Michelle, Vella and Darlene; brother, Richard; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her sister, Wilma; son, William Gomes; and daughter, Jennifer Gomes.
Gravesite services will be held at Georgetown Cemetery at 2 p.m., on Sunday, April 7, with reception to follow at the Diamond Springs Mobile Home Park clubhouse at 3550 China Garden Road in Placerville.