In Memory of



Obituary for Heather Gonsalves

Heather's Celebration of Life is being live-streamed. Please click the link below to view:

Heather O'Dell Reynolds Gonsalves passed away peacefully at home on December 8, 2022, following a brief illness. She was born in New London, Connecticut, on July 12, 1942, to Rosabelle Shankle and Willie Reynolds. She attended Saltonstall Elementary School, Buckley Junior High School, and graduated from New High School in 1960.

Heather is survived by her beloved husband, David Gonsalves, of 37 years; her two beloved daughters, Torya Dortch and Lorraine (Ray-Ray Dortch) Thomas, and stepson David (Dee Dee) Gonsalves; sisters-in-law Jeanette Cardoza and Juanita Martin; brother-in-law Daniel Gonsalves Pehna; special sister-cousin Sidney (Orr) Harris; six grandchildren, Nicole Thomas, Monique Perry, Taj Thomas, Najhae Thomas, Rajiv Thomas, and Cheyenne Campbell; and 12 great-grandchildren, Ariel Thomas, Daigeonna Costley, Seth Thomas, Apache Thomas, Amir Ross, Alaysia Ross, Nyarah Jarmon, Devan Jarmon, Ezekiel Clarke, Jadiel Thomas, Ayamarelis Thomas, and Janai Thomas; and special granddaughter Melanie Delvallee.

Heather, lovingly known as “Mema” by her grandchildren, was a strong-willed intelligent woman who loved her family immensely and enjoyed the simple things in life. Her hobbies included playing puzzles on the computer, watching old movies and political news, and all genres of music. Heather enjoyed challenging anyone to a game of trivia and prided herself on having a good grasp of the English language.

Heather was a clerk typist who typed over 100 words per minute, employed by Electric Boat in Groton, CT, Puget Sound in Washington State, and United Nuclear in Uncasville, CT. She retired in 1992.

Heather will be sorely missed. We thank you, Ma/Mema, for nurturing your entire family, teaching us all about the world, and making each of us feel that we were someone special. You were the absolute best.

In addition to her parents, Heather was predeceased by her loving stepfather Harrison (Pete) Brown; her favorite aunt Shirley (Jackson Shankle) Smith; her best sister friends Barbara Jackson and Sheila Cisco; her favorite Davita friend Shirley, and Charles Dortch, whom she missed dearly.

Heather leaves behind a host of cousins including special cousins, the Shankles; two special sister-friends, Cheryl Martin and Gloria Stiggle Wheeler; special daughter, Tina, from United Nuclear; childhood friend Gary Manson; a special friend Charlie Larkie; and her cherished friends, Jolene and Tony, from Davita Dialysis Clinic.

Thank you to the Davita family for taking exceptional care of Heather for the past five years. You know who you are. She loved you all.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to Davita Dialysis Clinic, 113 Salem Turnpike, Norwich, CT. 06360

Following the burial, a reception will occur at Shalonda’s 4th and Goal, 345 Bank Street, New London.