Jose Emilio Gutierrez (February 12, 1935 - June 17, 2018) died from the effects of a stroke suffered in January of that year, at the Harborage, a long-term hospice care facility in North Bergen, N.J. He was born in Santiago, Cuba, and came to this country in 1960, landing in Key West, Florida, on a ticket costing $22.30. Ten years later he became a U.S. citizen. He did not see Cuba again until the early 1990’s, but subsequently made many trips, delivering packages of goods to families and needy friends left behind on the island. In the U.S. he worked as a car salesman in Northern New Jersey, building up a large and loyal clientele. He kept up his community and his Cuban connections by working as a staff reporter for the Spanish-language newspaper “The Continental”. He liked to tell the story of his first involvement with cars: back in Cuba as a young and underage man he persuaded a state official to alter the official year he was born on required paperwork from 1935 to 1933, thus allowing him to qualify for a driver’s license.
Jose Emilio was a devoted family man. He is survived by four children, the eldest a daughter, Marilyn Gutierrez-Wilson of Attleboro, MA, born of his first marriage; and three children of his second marriage to Lucia Young: Suzanne Gutierrez of Bend, OR; Emily Gutierrez of Santa Monica, CA; and Joseph Gutierrez of Alhambra, CA. Jose Emilio’s gentle, calming manner was a hallmark of his relationship with his six grandchildren: his daughter Marilyn’s son Lorenzo Wilson; his daughter Suzanne’s daughter Bella, her twin sons Jack and Emilio; her son Sam; and Joseph’s daughter Inami. Because they live in states from the East to the West of the U.S., the grandchildren seldom come together. The first, and in fact the last time Jose Emilio saw them together was when they all visited him a few months before he died.
Jose Emilio was preceded in death by his mother Olga Ferret Marco, his father Emilio Gutierrez Portuondo and his brother Nelio Gutierrez Ferret.
At a forthcoming private ceremony, following his expressed desire, his family will gather for the scattering of his ashes.
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