Unfortunately I was not able to place this information on the thread that started this inquiry, but since some did not seem to be able to find how to do this, I thought I would provide it in case somebody was actually looking for it.
In Order to not sync your contacts to your Gmail Account.
Select your Gmail Account
Uncheck the box for "Sync Contacts"
Done. Not nearly as hard... either to find or execute as it was suggested to be.
Now you can rest easy that your contacts are solely on your phone and that Google will not take over the world starting with your contact list.
Of course if you lose your phone or something goes wrong, you don't have a backup in the cloud... but at least your contacts are "safe."