Gonzalo “Gunner” Agosto
Naples, Fla. — Gonzalo “Gunner” Agosto passed away peacefully on Monday, March 25, 2013, at the age of 83 in Naples, Fla. Gunner spent his twilight years enjoying the beautiful blue skies and gulf-fresh air of Naples while in the loving care of his daughter Dawn, son-in-law Larry, and their family.
Gunner was born in Manhattan to Ramon and Mary, immigrants from Camagüey, Cuba. As a teenager he worked at his father’s small import/export business while attending George Washington High School. Academic excellence led to City College of New York (CCNY) where he studied engineering and business and won the Saint-Gaudens medal for engineering design.
While still in his teens he met the love of his life, Mary, a gingery Irish beauty who shared Gunner’s desire to rise out of a depression-era childhood and secure a piece of the American Dream. In the first of many adventures, they secretly slipped away to North Carolina and eloped, then motored all-night back to NYC so Gunner could make it to morning classes and Mary to her job at Macy’s. It was a romantic start to 60 wonderful years of marriage.
Gunner and Mary settled in Westfield, N.J., where they bought a home, started a family, and he began a long career in sales. After 10 years in retail and an MBA from Rutgers University, Gunner recognized the explosive potential of the nascent computer industry. He joined the sales department of Burroughs Corporation just as their mainframe computers began to surge forward in the industry. He had a great run at Burroughs through the 60s and 70s and was later recruited by Silicon Valley’s Tandem Computers. He spent the rest of his career at Tandem (later Compaq) as a top salesman, managing large accounts such as Western Union and AT&T.
Gunner loved sales -- the travel, the competition, meeting new people, and most importantly, helping spread important and ever-evolving innovations that were transforming the country. Affable, determined, cultured, Gunner was precisely the kind of guy companies wanted out there representing their technology.
Gunner’s success lead to a second home in West Windsor where the Agosto family spent many blissful times. Gunner loved skiing at Mt. Ascutney, the Brownsville July 4th parades and Bean Suppers, fishing the Connecticut River, summer concerts at Saint-Gaudens, dinner and drinks at Skunk Hollow Tavern, the cider pressing at Ogden’s Mill, the Woodstock library, and kicking back on his porch listening to his favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds, on WLW, while watching his grandchildren Megan Erin and Ryan grow up Vermonters. The biggest highlight of his time on Sheddsville Road was hosting an epic wedding reception for his daughter Dawn and son-in-law Larry at which hundreds of guests danced long into the night to the swinging sounds of the Johnson State Jazz Ensemble.
The panoramic Vermont countryside helped inspire Gunner to become an avid photographer. Together with his son Stephen, he built his own darkroom and mastered the art of black and white photography. He leaves behind thousands of beautiful prints and slides, the best of which he collected into neat volumes which provide both a comprehensive pictorial history of our family’s adventures and instant access to decades of memories.
Above all, Gunner was a jazz fan. His passion for Bebop and Free jazz, especially Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, can be measured not just by his massive album collection, but by the many hundreds of shows and concerts he attended. Of the many gifts he gave his children, the appreciation of music was by far the most valuable.
Gunner is preceded in death by his dear wife Mary, his beloved son Stephen, and his younger brother William. He is survived by his three children, Dawn, David, and Megan; his three grandchildren, Megan Erin, Ryan, and Kasey; his great grandchildren Rylie and Kai; and many, many friends and acquaintances. He was a really great guy and we’re all going to miss him.
Along with his wife Mary’s and son Stephen’s ashes, Gunner’s ashes will be interred in the Sheddsville Cemetery this summer. Together they will forever rest beneath the autumn leaves, the crisp snow, the black-eyed Susans, and the warm morning sun dawning on Mount Ascutney. Arrangements are being handled by Shikany’s Bonita Funeral Home, (239) 992-4982.