Remembering Miguel Gonzales

A high school yearbook photo of Miguel Gonzales. Photo courtesy of D.C. Public Schools

Miguel Gonzales, a lifelong resident of Washington, D.C., and staple of the Adams Morgan neighborhood, died on March 29, 2022. He is greatly missed by those who knew him.

Gonzales grew up in Adams Morgan, attended Oyster Adams elementary school, and graduated from Wilson High School. He worked for many years as a janitor throughout the District, including for the housekeeping department at the Watergate Hotel.

Gonzales lost his mother, also a longtime resident of Adam’s Morgan, due to COVID-19 early in the pandemic. Since her passing, Gonzales was fully unhoused. Many people in the neighborhood came to know Gonzales and his best friend Jeannie Allen, because they both lived in the Adams Morgan Plaza 

“Miguel was my best friend and my little brother,” Allen said. “We called ourselves the street family and took care of each other… Miguel was the sweetest person. It’s not easy to find a kind person in this world and that was him. He was a strong man, but he never hurt no one, and he’d let others bully him and not complain, just walk[ed] away from the situation and mind[ed] his own business. He was extremely shy, so I’d do the talking for him! I’d be the loud one, and he’d laugh all day at my jokes. We were a team.”

David Hargrove, a longtime friend and former classmate from Oyster Adams, said Gonzales was one of the kindest people he knew. 

“I always remember him as a very genuine person and a good friend,” Hargrove said. “He had fallen into hard times in recent years and was homeless. I had just reached out to him [on] Saturday [March 26, 2022] on 18th St, and he seemed ok, or at least about the same. It’s still a bit of a shock to me, but homeless people dying on the streets is a daily occurrence now in our city. I will miss him and had real hopes of him finding housing.”

John W. Gross, a friend of Jeanie Allen and Miguel Gonzales, remembers Miguel’s loyal spirit.

“Miguel was a real good guy,” he said. “He was so quiet all the time, but this one day he surprised me. I went over to the Plaza and started calling for Jeannie to come out from the railings. I was calling her name, and Miguel climbs over the railings comes up to me real big, now he’s a foot shorter than me, but he comes up to me and pushes up to my face and says, ‘Leave her alone, she sleeping! Let her rest, man.’ It actually made me smile to see him protecting her like that. Jeannie, I love that woman, and her and Miguel were there for each other like real family.”

People throughout the neighborhood knew Miguel. “I knew a very kind Miguel, who mostly stayed in the corner of Biltmore and Columbia,” said Charles Koppelman-Milstein, a close friend and neighbor. “Once, he saw my 8-year-old carrying a watermelon and told him how strong he was. My 8 [year-old] said, ‘That is the reason I carried this watermelon. I wanted a grown up to say I was strong.’”

Issues |Community|Death

Region |Adams Morgan

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