Kristie Ann Gonzalez was an outgoing teen, an “angel” who loved music, teasing brother Donovan and never afraid to speak her mind, Kristie Ann Gonzalez loved giving the big brother she admired a hard time as much as she loved playing soccer, watching MTV videos and sleeping. Her parents, speaking about their youngest child Monday, said she seemed to know the end was coming and tried to buoy her family’s spirits.
Kristie died early Saturday from complications of adenovirus, which attacks and weakens a victim’s lungs and impairs breathing. She was 14. Born and raised on the Southwest side, Kristie loved trying to “get” her father, James Gonzalez, by playfully teasing him.
“She was daddy’s girl, and she loved teasing him, playing and trying to get him angry,” said her mother, Lucina Tamayo-Gonzalez, a second-grade teacher at Elm Creek Elementary School. “She loved the beach, and looked forward to our annual vacations on South Padre Island,” said James Gonzalez, a Frito-Lay route sales representative for the past 17 years.
“She loved swimming, either in the motel pool or in the gulf. That’s why we called her “our little fish.” In addition to listening to her favorite musical groups and playfully getting under big brother Donovan’s skin, Kristie played fullback on the Scobee Junior High School soccer team. She was happiest eating pizza or chicken nuggets and drinking a blue coconut slush from Sonic, her favorite fast food drive-in.
“She was a social butterfly, and I think she went to school, not for the academics, but to always be the social person,” her mother said. “She was always happy and always had a ready, sweet smile.” Tamayo-Gonzalez said her daughter was looking forward to her freshman year at Southwest High School in the fall. But facing an extended stay at Methodist Children’s Hospital’s pediatrics ICU — she was at the hospital for 38 days — Kristie seemed to be preparing her family for the inevitable.
“But how can you prepare for this?” her father said. “She would tell me, ‘Mommy don’t cry, I don’t want you to worry, I’ll be fine,’” Tamayo-Gonzalez said. “She also tried bolstering her grandmother by saying, ‘Grandma, are you gonna cry or are you gonna pray? I don’t want you to cry.’ “I always wanted to have an angel come down and talk to us and care for us, when all the time the angel was right in front of us.”