At 78 years old, Gilbert lived many lifetimes, from being a young rebel and later a cool OG, to being a devoted son, brother, husband, father and grandfather, trustworthy contractor, prudent businessman, loyal friend, traveler, hunter, fisherman, and casino and bingo player.
Gilbert was born on March 25, 1942, in Austin, Texas to Frank and Aurora "Dora" Limón (née Lopez) at their home on East 5th St. and Canadian St., now named Robert T. Martinez Jr St. The second of seven children, Gilbert grew up helping his family with their businesses including their grocery store and later a bakery in Montopolis. At an early age Gilbert worked alongside his dad learning the ropes of the concrete and construction business. At the time they were the only Hispanic-owned concrete company in town and helped build some of Austin's first neighborhoods from Northwest Hills to South Austin. Gilbert attended Zavala Elementary, Fulmore Middle School, and Travis High School.
On February 13, 1960, Father Donnelly of Dolores Catholic Church married Gilbert and his devoted wife Bertha (née Mendez). They began their family and welcomed three children, Debra Ann, Gilbert Jr. "Pimpo", and Catherine Marie. As young parents, they were active in the church, community, business and politics, in the era of growing political and business power for Chicanos and Latinos in Austin.
Ever the entrepreneur, in 1980, 40 years ago this week, their family officially incorporated Frank Limón & Sons Construction, located in the heart of East Austin next door to the house in which Gilbert was born. Gilbert and Bertha showed incredible leadership as one of the first minority-owned businesses to be certified by the State of Texas and earn government contracts for infrastructure, bridge and highway projects from Fort Worth to San Antonio. He set an example for other business owners by showing tremendous heart and integrity in all of his dealings, and like his father and mother, always provided for la comunidad. Later Gilbert would even lay the foundation and the tilt walls for their family restaurant that opened in 1992 on East 7th St, the first building of its kind in East Austin and that still stands today.
After decades of hard work and hustle, in the late 1990s, Gilbert and Bertha closed their business and sold their real estate investments to be able to retire in their 50s, enjoying time with their grandchildren and traveling. Always known as a cool head and steady hand, throughout his life and in retirement, he enjoyed fishing and hunting, especially with family and friends at their ranch in Colorado's Grand Mesa and at their home along the Gulf Coast in Port O'Connor, TX. They also enjoyed weekends at any casino that welcomed them with VIP status.
Gilbert is survived by his wife of 60 years, Bertha, his children and their spouses Debbie (James), Gilbert Jr. (Martha), and Cathy; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; his best friend of 73 years Fidel Herrera (Mary); brothers Elias (Christine) and Jesse, and sisters Virginia "Virgi" and Alice; along with numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, god children, and friends. The family would like to extend a special appreciation to his neighbors, particularly Anne and Kim; to his many friends and the greater bingo community who provided fellowship into his later years; and to everyone in the smoking section that provided good conversation wherever he was.
Gilbert has been called home to stand beside our Heavenly Father and is reunited with his beloved parents, Francisco and Aurora Limón, his beloved brothers Frank Jr. and Richard "Rick" Limón, his wife's parents Louis Sr. and Aurora Mendez, brother-in-laws Johnny Martinez, Sr., Louis Mendez Jr., Rodolfo "Rudy" Mendez, sister-in-law Consuelo "Connie" Gonzalez, nephew Jon Carlos Limón, nephew Michael Martinez, nephew Joseph Ball, and his beloved granddaughter Monica Johnson.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in honor of Gilbert's life may be made to the Capital of Texas Alzheimer's Association to further research for Alzheimer's and dementia. More than anything, he wished to have compassionate treatment and care for his wife Bertha in her final years, and that a cure would be found for all those experiencing dementia.
May Gilbert enter into his eternal sabbath, and may all those who knew him find peace.
Donations can be made online at https://www.alz.org/texascapital or mailed to:
Capital of Texas Chapter Alzheimer's Association
In memory of Gilbert Limón Sr.
5508 West Hwy 290, Suite 206, Austin, Texas 78735
Dolores Catholic Church
1111 Montopolis Drive
Austin, Texas 78741
During this difficult time of abundant caution due to the Corona Virus, the gathering is limited to 100 people at the church. Masks and Social distancing are required. You may show your support by joining the "Hugs from Home" program located on Gilbert's memorial webpage where your message will be given to the family during the service to remind them of your love and support for them. To access the livestream please visit Dolores Catholic Church Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dolores.church.184