Gonzales formerly owned Ferdi’s Autobody, Juniata Park Collision Center, and High Tech Autobody in Philadelphia.
According to the obituary on the Campbell Funeral Homes website, Gonzales was involved with the local automotive industry and the community as a whole. In addition to sharing his industry expertise as an instructor at the Eastern Center for the Arts and Technology School in Montgomery County, PA, Gonzales worked with the Attorney General’s office to prevent insurance fraud, and he advocated for Philadelphia citizens through his service on the Consumers Education Protective Association. Gonzales also served as the Lower Moreland Township Commissioner for Ward 4 for many years, resigning just days before his death.
CCRE addressed their sadness over the loss of Gonzales in an October newsletter: “Long time collision repair industry advocate and activist Ferdie Gonzales has left our world to pursue greater challenges in a higher universe. Most people involved in collision repair throughout the Philadelphia area and nationally knew Ferdie for being a consumer activist always looking out for the unaware consumer. A founding member of the Coalition for Collision Repair Excellence and the Pennsylvania Collision Trade Guild, Ferdie worked very hard to preserve consumer's rights. Ferdie will be missed by many, especially those still working to protect the unaware consumer and the repair industry that Ferdie Gonzales safeguarded with every breath.”
Gonzales was part of PCTG’s active “core group,” according to PCTG President Steve Behrndt who also called Gonzales “a fighter” in reference to his campaigning for independent body shops.
Several collision repairers expressed their sorrow and sympathy towards Gonzales, saying how special he was and will remain to the collision repair industry.
Preceded in death by his wife Geraldine, Gonzales is survived by four children, 11 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Funeral services have been conducted. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in the memory of Gonzales to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Special Olympics.