SAN DIEGO — Pedro Gonzales, a Mexican American social advocate and one of the first Latino disc jockeys in the United States, has died at the age of 99.
Gonzales, a longtime resident of the San Ysidro section of San Diego, died March 17 at Delta Convalescent Hospital in Lodi, near Stockton. He had moved to Lodi about three years ago.
Gonzales’ life was as colorful as it was long.
As a teen-ager, he joined Francisco (Pancho) Villa’s rebel forces in Mexico, working as a telegraph operator constantly on the run from government soldiers.
In 1923, he and his wife and child settled in Los Angeles, where he found a job as a longshoreman. Gonzales’ habit of singing while he worked led to his own Spanish-language radio show, one of the first in the nation.