Gilberto Silva-Menéndez: Loved dancing, St. Bernards

Silva-Menéndez was working toward a degree in healthcare

By Sachelle Saunders - Reporter

It wasn't out of the ordinary to see Gilberto Silva-Menéndez, 25, out dancing.

The Manati, Puerto Rico, native is remembered by family and friends as fun-loving and joyful.

Silva-Menéndez was one of the 49 people killed on June 12, 2016 after dancing the night away at Pulse nightclub on Latin night, celebrating his heritage.

Silva-Menéndez’ best friend, Peter O. Gonzalez Cruz, 22, was also killed.

“(They) became so inseparable until they went to heaven together,” SIlva-Menéndez’ sister Marynell Valentin recently wrote, in Spanish on Facebook, of two friends.

Valentine moved to Orlando a few months before the one-year anniversary of her brother’s death.

“Eleven months since your departure and to know that I'll be there today and you're not going to pick me up that disheartens me,” she said on Facebook in Spanish. “I miss you so much but he's still watching over me from heaven.”

Silva-Menéndez lived in Orlando for just a few years and had his sights set on higher goals. He was attending Ana G. Mendez University to work in healthcare and also worked at a local Speedway.

Almost a year later, his sister still commemorates his memory posting each month on Facebook.

"Eight months without hearing you laugh, without seeing you dancing. Wow, how I miss you," Valentin wrote earlier this year.

Silva-Menéndez also loved dogs. The American Kennel Club acknowledged his work as a St. Bernard fancier after the shooting.


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