‘Everyone loved him’ — Richmond High gathering mourns untimely death of student

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'Everyone loved him:' Richmond High gathering mourns untimely death of student
Friends, family and schoolmates gathered to memorialize Gonzalo Jr. Sanchez at the Richmond High Band Room on Saturday, July 23, 2022. (All photos by Mike Kinney)

By Mike Kinney

Gonzalo Jr. Sanchez was described as a positive, friendly, well-loved student at Richmond High who was naturally talented at playing the trumpet.

“Everyone loved him,” his cousin Anthony Martinez said.

Added Andrew Wilke, director of the Richmond High Music Department, “While he was only 14 years old, he was really a good trumpet player. He was just a natural.”

The beloved Sanchez was remembered at a memorial today in the Band Room at Richmond High, where family, friends and fellow band members created a beautiful altar to memorialize a life cut way too short.

Gonzalo Jr., drowned in Lake Camanche in Calaveras County on Sunday, according to Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief Richard Dickinson. The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Dive Team located and recovered his body the evening of his drowning, enabling his family “to say goodbye,” Chief Dickinson said.

The ample love and good will that Gonzalo Jr. spread amongst his family, friends and community over 14 years is reflected by the significant response in the community to his passing. As of this writing, over 100 donations had been made to a GoFundMe set up to support his family. To donate, click here

Altar set up to memorialize Gonzalo Jr. Sanchez.

Gonzalo Jr. was an active member of both the Richmond High Marching Band and Concert Band. His band uniform and trumpet adorned the altar placed in the Band Room during his memorial today, along with flowers, photo images of him, balloons, and other mementoes.

“Gonzalo played the trumpet like his sister Jennyfer, who just graduated this year,” Wilke said. “I would say the thing that jumped out the most about Gonzalo is that he was always smiling, positive and really smart. The kind of a person who is just a friend to everyone and showed up to everything giving his all.”

Martinez described his cousin as “a very friendly person, who had a lot of great vibes.”

“He was family oriented and got along with everyone very well,” Martinez said. “He played sports with his family and friends; he enjoyed being out with his friends. He was the only boy with three sisters in his family and he had a lot of people to make sure he felt like he had many brothers.”