A memorial service is Saturday for Gardnerville resident Ricardo “Little Ricky” Gonzales Carrillo, who died on Aug. 16, 2013 at age 4 from a broken heart.
Born with a condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, he’d undergone five surgeries, including four open heart surgeries. Gardnerville residents conducted fundraisers for him to help pay for his medical treatment starting not long after he was born in 2009.
“He was a joy to us,” brother Roy Gonzales Carrillo said on Wednesday. “We know why he was here and it was to love everyone he met. We see now how he fit into the puzzle and know he is in a better place.”
Ricky had returned from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Calif., on Aug. 9, and showed no signs of trouble before he died, mother Antonia Gonzales said.
“There was no warning at all,” Roy said. “He passed away peacefully at home.”
Family members said you couldn’t tell that Ricky had undergone multiple surgeries by looking at him. Most of his surgeries took place in Las Vegas or in Stanford.
He was on the list for a heart transplant when he died.
“Ricky had a smile all the time and was a vibrant spirit,” Roy said on Wednesday. “Even though you could see he was in pain, he always had a smile no matter what.”
Ricky attended Minden Elementary School’s preschool where he made many friends, Roy said.
“We want to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts, and everything they’ve done for us,” Roy said. “We wanted to let them know he’s in a better place.”
He is survived by mother Antonia Gonzales, father Ricardo Carrillo, brothers Roy and Johnathon Gonzales Carrillo.
A viewing is 7-9 p.m. today at FitzHenry’s Funeral Home, 1380 Highway 395 in Gardnerville. A memorial service is 2 p.m. Saturday at the Piñon Hills Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints at 1085 Spruce St. in Minden.
Donations may be made to Wells Fargo account No. 1253309866.