Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Victim in Tampa crash lived the American dream, daughter says

Teresa Gonzalez Cruz and her husband, Carlos Cruz Sr.

Photo courtesy of the Cruz family

Teresa Gonzalez Cruz and her husband, Carlos Cruz Sr.

TAMPA — Teresa Gonzalez Cruz always had a smile on her face. It was contagious.

But her life wasn't always as easy as her sweet exterior made it seem.

Born in Tampa in 1933, Mrs. Cruz moved to Cuba with her parents, who worked in cigar factories, when she was a year old.

There she met Carlos Cruz Sr. The two wed and moved to Tampa in 1954. He had just $14 in his pocket, said the couple's daughter, Maura Lanz of Tampa.

The couple eventually opened a barber shop, Carlos Hairstyling on Armenia Avenue, and cut hair until retirement.

"They both had a hard life and they struggled, but they were living the American dream," Lanz said.

On Sunday, that dream came to a crashing halt when Natalie Gassett, 33, ran a red light at the intersection of Himes Avenue and Spruce Street, police said, and the couple's car became one of five in the crash.

Mrs. Cruz, 76, died from her injuries that afternoon, police said. Her 81-year-old husband was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he is in intensive care.

No charges have been announced in the crash.

"She was so embracing and welcoming," said Aimee Cruz, the wife of the couple's son, Carlos Cruz Jr. "She just made you feel like part of the family instantly."

Mrs. Cruz, who is also survived by daughter Marilyn Guy of Wesley Chapel, took pride in her seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Her love for sewing never faded.

On a chair in her dining room Monday night sat fabric that would have been her next blouse.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 226-3374.

Victim in Tampa crash lived the American dream, daughter says 09/27/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 27, 2010 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017


    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  5. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.