His stories established the credibility of the Record and expanded its audience.
His freedom from formal training in journalism proved an asset, not a liability.
No one had ever published a newspaper like the Record, and credentials mattered less than courage and intelligence.
Steve Gonzalez, known to many as “Gonzo,” possessed a trait professors cannot instill, the sheer delight of telling a story that powerful people would prefer to hide.
He was not a flowery word reporter. He was old school - Gonzo hustled for scoops, endearing many trusted sources along the way.
He turned into a teacher of his older Record teammates, with first-hand accounts of life inside the courts of St. Clair and Madison counties.
He broke the story of the Jane Doe civil suit with which Alton lawyer Ed Unsell exposed Tom Lakin as a criminal.
The Record recently began its tenth year of publication, and we have Gonzo to thank for helping establish our success.
Gonzalez, 36, of Belleville, died Wednesday, Nov. 20, apparently of complications following surgery at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.
His wife Carrie shared his last moments. He leaves children Cody, Noah, Nathaniel and Seraphina.
Gonzalez worked for the Record from the paper’s inception in 2004 until 2009.
Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24 at Kassly Funeral Home in Fairview Heights.