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Remembering Benny C Martinez, Member AGIF/TX Lucian Adams Chapter
JANUARY 4, 1934 – DECEMBER 29, 2019
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Please join the Lucian Adams Chapter in remembering a dear friend and long-time American GI Forum (AGIF) member, Benny C. Martinez who passed away December 29, 2019. Benny was born on January 4, 1934 in Goliad, Texas and was one of eleven children born to Placido Lozano Martinez and Paula Cabrera Cortinas. Benny served in the U.S. Army, in Korea from 1957–1958 and from 1958–1962. He also served in the Reserves as a Medic at Fort Hood, Texas. All seven brothers would serve in the US Army with four brothers serving in WWII. We was an active member of the American GI Forum Lucian Adams Chapter in Houston.
Benny was a descendant of the early Tejano ranching families, the De La Garza, Cabrera and Becerras, who established and settled Refugio and Goliad Counties. His ancestors explored and settled in the Texas wilderness over 300 years ago. Manuel Becerra, his paternal 3rd great grandfather, served as the first Ayuntamiento, (city Secretary) of Goliad in 1820 and held various public offices until 1835. He was also a guide to Stephen F. Austin. An Official Texas State Historical Marker documents his ancestor’s contributions and is located in front of the Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, Texas.
On his maternal line, Benny was a direct descendant of Juan Pedro Cabrera and Maria Rodriguez de Bega, from the Canary Islands, Spain, one of 15 families who helped establish a civil government in San Antonio de Bexar and who arrived, March 9, 1731.
Benny was a member of the Canary Islands Descendants Association in San Antonio, Texas. Benny was also a member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, San Jacinto Chapter and joined under his 2nd maternal great grandfather, Mariano Cabrera, who supplied beeves in 1835, per a Republic of Texas Pay Voucher to Captain Phillip Dimmitt issued to his ancestor on August 31, 1853. Benny was very proud of his Tejano history and was proud to be a 9th generation Texan. Benny was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 8930 in Houston, TX. A member of the American GI Forum Lucian Adams Chapter, a member of the American Legion in Goliad, Texas and an honoirary member of the Goliad Rotary Club. The American GI Forum of Texas extends their condolences and prayers to the Martinez Family and the Lucian Adams Chapter. May he rest in Eternal Peace.
Remembering Alfred C. Hernandez
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – This a sad message on the passing of a dear friend and long-time American GI Forum (AGIF) member. Alfred C. Hernandez was born on August 21, 1933 in Poteet, Texas to Hipolito and Francisca Corella Hernandez. He served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He lived in Union City, Fremont and Modesto, California for 60 years, where he was a realtor, before moving to Richmond, Texas in August of 2018. On June 1, 1968, he married Diana Avila in Fremont, California.
Alfred C. Hernandez passed away on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at his home in Richmond, Texas at the age of 86. Al first joined the Union City Chapter as a charter member in Union City California. He later served as a member of the Fremont Chapter and Later as a member of the Modesto Chapter. During his time in California he never forgot his beloved hometown of Poteet, Texas.
The American GI Forum has lost a dedicated and loyal member and Lupe and I lost a personal friend. We spent a lot of time with Al and his family. He was the son-in-law of great personal friends Mr. Leo Avila and his wife Anita from Fremont, Californila. We all remember Leo and Anita Avila as faithful and staunch AGIF members of many years. It was part of a family tradition.
Al spent his free time watching football, boxing, and Fox News, as well as enjoying a Whataburger and Dr. Pepper. He served as AGIF State Chairman of California for the American G. I. Forum and was a member for 55 years. He is survived by his sons, Brian J. Hernandez and his wife Maria of Santa Paula, California, and Alfred C. Hernandez, Jr. and his wife Estella of Richmond; grandchildren, Ray Eli Sanchez and his wife Laurie, Sarina Sanchez, Paco Willard, Romero Garza, and Randale Hernandez; and great grandchildren, Weylyn J. Willard. He was preceded in death by his parents; six brothers; three sisters; and his wife, Diana Hernandez, who passed away on July 17, 2009.
The American GI Forum extends condolences to Alfred Jr., his wife Estella and the rest of the Hernandez family. And from Lupe and I Freddy, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thank you and your wife for taking care of Al during his last few years. You are indeed a good man and virtuous son. Our condolences also to the California AGIF on the loss of a great patriot.
A graveside service with military honors will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6, 2019 at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella, California.
American GI Forum National and Texas State Chaplain, Father Richard Peña Passed Away
American GI Form of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO, Texas –It is with great sadness that I report that Father Richard Peña, the Official Chaplain of the American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. and the American GI Forum of The U.S., a retired priest of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, died Wednesday June 26 at the age of 75.
After an official request from the American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Father Richard Peña became the official Chaplain of Texas and later also for the National Organization in August 2000. He was appointed by Archbishop Patrick F. Flores from the Archdiocese of San Antonio to serve as its Chaplain and provide the American GI Forum with its spiritual needs. Father Richard Pena participated with the American GI Forum as Texas State and National Chaplain serving until poor health forced him to retire. He is deserving of many accolades for his service, but as a humble individual, he modestly and graciously accepted his role as a tribute to his calling.
He served for many years in many capacities, including as a Board member of the American GI Forum National Outreach Program (NVOP) for many years. He also served as a board member of the state and national organizations as well as in many other capacities when called upon. He traveled to all State and National conference and events when his official capacity as pastor allowed him. His friendship to many developed into close relationships which he enjoyed. He was a constant companion to those in need. He successfully aspired and aimed at being everyone’s personal friend. His close friendship was always felt.
Father Peña was born in San Antonio on Nov. 6, 1943, the youngest of seven children to Jesus and Elvira Peña.
He attended Sacred Heart School, Irving Middle School, and Holy Cross High School. After graduating from Holy Cross, he attended San Antonio College, earning an associate degree in 1966.
In November of that year he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served until November 1968. Father Peña was a Vietnam veteran who saw combat as an infantryman during the 1968 Tet Offensive. While serving with his unit, the Third Ordinance Battalion, Security Platoon, he was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge and two Bronze Stars. Both his father and his brother Jesse were also combat veterans of World War II and Korea, respectively.
Following his military service, Father Peña had a wide variety of life experiences. He worked for the United States Army/Air Force Exchange Service at Fort Sam Houston, as a claims adjuster for USAA, and a member of the Clerical Division for the San Antonio Police Department.
Father Peña initially joined the Holy Cross Order as a Brother in 1980, and served as a religious education teacher in San Antonio, then with the Spanish Apostolate in Albany, N.Y., and later as a high school teacher in Long Beach, Calif.
Following his time with that religious community, he pursued studies for the priesthood at Assumption Seminary, earning a bachelor’s degree in Theology from Our Lady of the Lake University and a master’s degree in Divinity from Oblate School of Theology.
Father Peña was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Patrick F. Flores on May 29, 1992 at Sacred Heart Church, his home parish, and the newly ordained priest celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving there on May 31.
He was initially assigned as parochial vicar of St. Leo the Great Church from 1992 to 1994. Father Peña later served as pastor of Christ the King Church and then St. Gabriel Church, the parish from which he retired.
Father Peña was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus with Council 1102, spiritual moderator of the Archdiocesan Union of Holy Name Societies, national and state chaplain to the American GI Forum, member of the Disabled American Veterans, as well as a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Catholic War Veterans Post 1891, American Legion Post 0002, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8936.
For those wishing to offer a final salute and farewell to Father Pena, Rosary and visitation will be held at St. Gabriel Church at 747 S.W. 39th Street in San Antonio on Tuesday, July 9, at 10 a.m., followed by the funeral Mass at 11 a.m., with Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette presiding. Burial will take place at Fort Sam Houston Cemetery on Wednesday, July 10, at 11 a.m.
Father Richard Peña Remembered
Long-time AGIF Member and Former Illinois Commander Al Galvan Passed Away
American GI Forum of Texas Inc, Report: AUSTIN, Texas – Long-time AGIF member, Past NVOP Board member and former Illinois State Commander Al Galvan passed away peacefully this last Thursday. His health had been on a decline the last several years and intensified the last several months.
Al and his wife Inez were very active AGIF members for many years locally, state and Nationally and attended all National Conferences and Mid-year conferences for years. He was one of the longest serving Board members of the NVOP and continued being active in his home state until his health started failing. He lived in a Memory Assisted Living Facility for the last 3 years.
Services for Al Galvan were at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, 8404 Cass Ave. in Downers Grove, Illinois. His eternal resting place will be "Abraham Lincoln Cemetery" Joliet, Illinois. Our condolences to the Galvan Family. May he Rest in Peace.
Long-time AGIF,TX Member, Humberto Aguirre, Del Rio Texas, Remembered
American GI Forum of Texas Inc, Report: DEL RIO, Texas – Texas Forum member Humberto Aguirre, 86, of Del Rio, peacefully passed away on September 7, 2018. He now joins his Heavenly Father and wife of 61 years whom he deeply missed, Hilda Valdez Aguirre.
Humberto was a long-time American GI Forum member of the Del Rio, Texas Fermin Calderon Chapter and was active for many years. He served the AGIF in several leadership capacities, including serving as local, Region and State Commander. He also serve on the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program, (NVOP) as a board member. He was one of the original founders of the Del Rio Chapter of the American GI Forum.
He was active in local community activities and helped fund many programs and projects including the local American GI Forum Park and the American GI Forum Clubhouse. He also served as chairman for several State Conferences and a National Mid-year Conference. He also served on the Military Affairs Association at LAFB and the Board of Directors of the Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum.
Humberto had a great sense of patriotism for his country and local community. He was a defender of human rights, a fighter of the less fortunate, and a political advocate for equality. He enjoyed sports and playing golf, spending time with family, and chatting up anyone who would listen.
At federal and state levels, Humberto was instrumental in developing and assisting in funding education, economic, and recreation programs through his career with the Office of Economic Opportunity, Texas Education Agency, and the Governor's Office of Migrant Affairs. As an educator for many years, he served as Vice President of St. Edward's University in Austin, TX as well as various positions for U.S. Senator John Tower and Texas Governor Preston Smith. However, his greatest professional passion was providing assistance through these offices to the community where he was raised and that he loved so dearly.
San Felipe High School, where he was a member of the State Regional Champion Football Team of 1948 and named by the district as "All Iron Man" was dear to Humberto's heart. He enjoyed reminiscing with friends about the good 'ole days. He was also an active member of the First United Methodist Church and sang in the church choir. After his retirement he would enjoy bringing smiles to people's faces by delivering flowers for the family owned business, As Always Simply Beautiful.
His pride and joy, of which he boasted at any opportunity given, were his grandchildren and great grandchildren. To the amazement of all those who knew otherwise, he would jokingly say that they looked just like him.
Humberto is survived by his beloved children, Belinda Aguirre, Landa Aguirre, Lori Tackett , Waldo Aguirre, and son-in-law Jeff Tackett; grandchildren, Summerlynn Fitzpatrick (Sean Michael), Brittney Tackett, and great grandchildren Sean Riley Fitzpatrick, James Michael Fitzpatrick, and Sophia Grace Fitzpatrick; sisters-in-law Diana Valdes and Esperanza (Nena) Aguirre; numerous nieces and nephews.
Full Military honors were rendered by the American Legion Post #595 Honor Guards and the United Sates Air Force at his funeral.
Our condolences to his family. Mr. Humberto Aguirre will be missed.
Past National Commander Tony E. Gallegos Passed Away
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc Report: ORANGE, CA – Our Deepest Condolences to the Gallegos Family on the passing of past National Commander and former EEOC Commissioner, Tony Gallegos. He passed away on Wednesday May 9, 2018. His daughter, Lorrie informs us that the Funeral will be private, however, the funeral Mass will be on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at Holly Family Church in Orange, CA.. We ask that you pass the information to your chapter and GI Forum members. Tony Gallegos was a member of the Pico Rivera Chapter. He served as local commander, State Commander of California and later became National Commander. For those that did not know Tony, we have posted his obituary as is appeared in Orange, California.
Tony E. Gallegos was a World War II veteran and politician of Mexican American and Native American descent. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946. A native of Montrose, Colorado (born February 13, 1924), he served as flight engineer in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, flying 17 missions in a B-17 bomber. After the war, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Bisttram Institute of Fine Art in California. He worked at the Douglas Aircraft Company in California in a number of managerial positions from 1952 to 1982, achieving the position of Corporate Art Director.
Early in his professional career Tony Gallegos recognized the damage brought on by societal injustices. This led to his lifetime membership in the American GI Forum where he quickly rose from Commander of the Pico Rivera Chapter to California State Commander and then to National Chairman. He spearheaded the Coors Beer boycott, the GI Forum march in Washington, D.C., East Los Angeles moratorium and social injustice demonstration confronting President Richard Nixon in San Clemente, California. Tony Gallegos was a founding member and first Chair of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation. He served on the national board of Operation SER and boards of the Los Angeles County Office of Economic Development and Veterans Outreach. He served as advisory member to the US Senate Task Force on Hispanic Affairs, and as President/CEO of Veterans in Community Service.
On February 4, 1982, President Ronald Reagan nominated Tony Gallegos to be a Commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a term to expire July 1, 1984. President Reagan then nominated him for another term on the EEOC to expire July 1, 1989. On November 21, 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Tony Gallegos to the EEOC for the term expiring July 1, 1994. When on April 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton designated Commissioner Gallegos as Acting Chair of the EEOC, he became the Commission's first Hispanic leader to serve in that capacity. In total, Commissioner Gallegos served on the EEOC from 1982 to 1994. Commissioner Gallegos distinguished himself by expanding title Seven, 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Tribal Employments Rights Program, and the voluntary Assistance and Expanded Presence Program.
Tony Gallegos was married to the late Carmen Gallegos for 55 years. Together they raised their children Michael, who became a financial planner, and Lori who became an attorney. They were loving grandparents to Angela, Rachel, and Brandon.
EDITOR’S NOTE: On a personal note. I met Tony Gallegos when I first became a members of the American GI Forum in Fremont, California in 1967. My wife Lupe and I became friends with Tony and Carmen. After moving to Texas in 1990, we kept in touch until he left Veterans in Community Service (VICS), lost his wife and no longer participated with the AGIF. We shall miss him–may he Rest in Eternal Peace. –Gil and Lupe Rodriguez
Gen. Richard Cavazos (1929-2017) Army’s First Hispanic Four-Star General Dies
Editor’s Note: This article is in remembrance of a good friend of the American GI Forum. General Richard Cavazos died Sunday October 29, 2017. Due to our Web probems we were unable to publish information then. Below is an article from the San Antonio Express-News with some details of his long military career.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – General Richard Cavazos, the first Hispanic four-star general in the U.S. Army and one of its most highly decorated veterans, died Sunday in San Antonio after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
He was 88. Details were pending but Cavazos will be buried Nov. 14 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
With a combat record that included the nation’s second-highest medals for valor both in the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War, Cavazos blazed a trail for generations of other Hispanic general officers, The three who came after him ere Texans – Lt. Gen. Marc Cisneros of Brownsville, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez of Rio Grande City and Maj. Gen. Alfredo Valenzuela, who grew up on San Antonio’s West Side. ‘His impact as a mentor is probably the greatest impact our army had, and so we all looked up to him as an American soldier, a Hispanic soldier,” said Valenzuela, 59, a former commander of U.S. Army South. “He was the guy we wanted to be. If we couldn’t be him, we wanted to be near him and serve with him.”
Friends and comrades who served with Cavazos in Vietnam regarded him as a highly competent tactician who put himself in the crossfire with them.
One of them, Ronnie Cavazos, recalled the 1967 battle at Loc Ninh, in which he served in a company under Cavazos’ command that rushed to aid a unit facing encirclement. The companies later pushed up a hill while Cavazos called in artillery and air strikes. The 50th anniversary of that battle, where Cavazos earned his second Distinguished Service Cross, was on Monday.
“The enemy would have great fighting positions and we were moving up, so while they were bringing in the air strikes I thought it was like the Star Spangled Banner playing,” said Campsey, 75, a Southampton, New York restaurateur who left the Army as a sergeant.
“You could feel the heart of the napalm taking your breath away, you could see the white phosphorous they dropped on them and you could see them running around further up the hill, moving from trench to trench. And then the word came out for us to move forward.”
Cavazos was with them all the way. “He knew he was safe with us and we knew we were safe with him. He instilled confidence in everyone,” Campsey said, noting that Cavazos embedded himself with his Delta Company for the last three months of its deployment.
“I truly believe that a lot of us got home because of the way he conducted himself,” said Melvin “Brave” Brav, 75, of San Diego, California, a young second lieutenant when he first served under Cavazos as a platoon leader.
“I can’t really speak specifically to what it was like to work for him or the command structure, but I think many saw him as a father figure,” said his son, Tommy Cavazos, 52, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “They knew that he was not someone who would double cross them or use them or cast them aside, that he was a loyal person, he was an honest person, he was a very moral person. And that carries a lot of weight, obvi¬0usly’ when you’re putting your life on the line with somebody.”
Cavazos’ rise to prominence in the Army started as the son of a King Ranch cowhand. His father, Lauro Cavazos, came to Kingsville in 19l2, fought as an Army artillery sergeant in World War I and became a foreman of the King Ranch’s Santa Gertrudis division in an era of intense racism.
Lauro and Thomasa Quintanilla Cavazos were determined to give their children a life beyond the ranch and put all five of them through college. Lauro Cavazos Jr. became the U.S. education secretary under President George H.W Bush.
Dick Cavazos was their second son. He earned a degree in geology from Texas Tech University before entering the Army.
“I think in the environment he grew up, he grew up on the King Ranch, and his father was very much the same way,” Tommy Cavazos said. “They got into the task at hand together and there wasn’t really a class system or a system that was based on status or anything like that.”
Richard Cavazos led a brigade’ a division and an Army corps in the 1970S, finally commanding all soldiers in the continental United States before retiring in 1984.
Cisneros, who served under Cavazos as a battalion commander and later as operations officer with III Corps at Fort Hood, described him as a gifted leader, the second-highest decorated officer in the Korean War and by the end of his career’ the holder of two Silver Stars, two legions of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross, five Bronze Stars with Valor and a Purple heart, in addition to the pair of Distinguished Service Crosses.
“He was tough, but not tough to present himself as tough like Patton was. He was just very inspirational. He was soft-spoken but he was hard core,” said Cisneros, a Corpus Christi resident who led troops in the 1989 invasion of Panama that toppled strongman Manuel Noriega. “Nobody messed with him.”
One of the soldiers in Delta Company, Bill Fee, wrote on Facebook on Monday that Cavazos saved his life in a fierce night battle on Nov. 1, 1967, by ordering resupply helicopters to wait at the site for wounded as enemy soldiers rushed the Americans.
“What words can one express to someone who has saved your life? What debt can repay his leadership, mentorship and friendship over fifty years?” Fee wrote on his Facebook page.
“He wrote Sally & me a letter dated 11/17/07 which said in part... ‘You mean so much because I saw your devotion, I saw you fight, I saw the hurt, all of which I committed you to. I thank God for the blessing all of you are. I am proud to call you brother!”
American GI Forum Founding Member Fermin G. Sanchez, Died February 11
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Fermin G. Sanchez was a Founding Member of the American GI Forum from Corpus Christi Texas passed away last Saturday. He was also a founding member of the Oakland Chapter in California. The American GI Forum is once again mourning a founding member and a dedicated community leader. Our condolences to his wife Carolina and the rest of his Family on behalf of the American GI Forum the Texas Board of Directors, State Office and the State Commander, John Martinez. Below please read a short history accompanied by an article (From an old AGIF Forumeer) about Fermin being selected Forumeer of the Month by the National GI Forum sent by one of his sons.
"Our dearly beloved father and loving husband, patriarch of our family, Fermin G. Sanchez, has entered his eternal home with our Lord and Savior on February 11, 2017
"Fermin was born in Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico, on July 7, 1924 to Juan and Adela M. Sanchez. At age 6, his parents crossed over to US soil with family to seek a better life. Years later, he was then adopted by his beloved step-father Fernando Palacios Sr. In 1943, Fermin served in the US Army during WW II, while a Mexican citizen. In 1944, he served in the 2048th Engineering Aviation Firefighting Platoon in England and then in the 2150th Firefighting Platoon. He participated in the Battle of Normandy arriving at Omaha Beach. He was stationed in France, Belgium, and Germany under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton. After being Honorably Discharged, he had earned the privilege of becoming a proud US citizen.
"In 1946, he met the love of his life, Carolina Oliva Sanchez, and married her on April 27, 1947 at Sacred Heart Church. He was employed as an Aircraft Mechanic, Overhaul and Repair Facility, NASCC from 1948-1959, then transferred & took his family to the Oakland-SF Bay Area to continue his employment work with Civil Service at Alameda NAS, Calif until 1966. Missing the hometown, he then transferred back to ARADMAC, retiring after 36 years. Fermin then began another job as a Security guard at Citgo Refinery and CCISD schools for several years. Fermin was a founding member of the American GI Forum in Corpus Christi and thereafter Oakland, Calif chapter in the 1960's. He was in the AFGE Local 2142 as a Chief Union Steward for many years.
"All who knew him are aware of his devotion to Jesus Christ and the many blessings he received in his life. Fermin became a Eucharistic Minister at Holy Family Church. He also ministered the Holy Eucharistic at Christus-Spohn Memorial and made rosaries for the patients. He ministered also at Nueces County Jail and Juvenile Justice Center and many other prisons. He was also in the Puente Choir and taught religious education CCD at Holy Family Parish for many years. Fermin was a lifetime Knights of Columbus Holy Family Parish. He volunteered endlessly at CC State School, was an American Boy Scout leader, a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.
"Fermin's happy times included being a wonderful father and provider to his children, attending church, praying together, birthday celebrations, and especially Christmas and Thanksgiving holiday gatherings. Fermin loved being an avid cattle rancher, camping out, barbecuing, and hunting at his ranch in Freer, TX. He found great joy in giving of his time, energy, and money to the poor, homeless, sick, incarcerated, and lonely. This little 6-year-old boy who crossed the border from Mexico had achieved his dreams and accomplishments and his legacy will continue throughout his children.
"He was preceded in death by his father Juan Sanchez, mother Adela G. Palacios, step-father Fernando Palacios Sr, brothers Joseph Sanchez, Arturo Palacios, sister Celia Gomez, daughter-in-law Ana Sanchez, and grandsons Christopher and Damien Sanchez.
"He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Carolina O. Sanchez and his children, Fermin O. Sanchez, Guadalupe Roberto Sanchez, John R. Sanchez, Irene S. Amador, Roel O. Sanchez (Janie), and Nancy S. Ramirez (David); his brother Fernando Palacios Jr, (San Diego, Calif), nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.
"Special thanks to Gentiva Hospice for all their loving care."
National Forumeer Article
Past AGIF State Chairman Pete Chapa, San Angelo Chapter Died January 2
American GI Forum of Texas Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – It is unfortunate that the New Year sometimes brings us sad news. I regrettably inform you that one of our long-time Forumeers has passed. Former American GI Forum of Texas State Chairman, Mr. Pete O. Chapa from San Angelo passed away Monday, January 2 after having been in ill health for some time.
Chapa had been under hospice care in recent weeks. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Margie, and their four children: Peter, 58, Robin, 53, Cathy, 52 and Gina, 49.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, in the Johnson's Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Johnson's Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Johnson's Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens.
Chapa, who served in the Army reserve, dedicated his life to helping veterans after his younger brother was killed in Vietnam.
"He didn't have to go to Vietnam, but he chose to," Chapa said in a previous interview. "A day before he was to come back, he was standing guard and got killed. So I have a very special devotion to the military."
He served on many veterans boards and committees, including a stint as chairman of the American GI Forum of Texas during the 1980s. He operated a Veterans Outreach Program for many years until funding ran out. Whether he was paid for it or not, Chapa was always available to help veterans find funding to attend college or find a job, food and housing.
A barber by trade, Chapa for years would collect turkeys and deliver them to people in the south side of San Angelo who couldn't afford them during Thanksgiving, friends and family said. He would dress up as Santa Claus and deliver presents to children in the south side neighborhood where he grew up.
A native of Azucar, Mexico, Chapa's family moved to San Angelo when he was 2. Chapa was one of 11 children and dropped out of school at age 17 to work and help support the family. He returned to school at age 19 and graduated from Central High School when he was 21.
We will keep you informed of any changes and as is customary for our fallen members, we have send flowers on behalf of the members and the Board of Directors of the American GI Forum of Texas.
Other Recent Deaths
We also sadly report that Mr. John Aleman, Lucian Adams Chapter recently lost his Brother. Joe B. Aleman 79, of Waco on December 14, 2016. He died after being hospitalized from an accident. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Candelaria V. Aleman, his 5 children, 20 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Our Condolences to his wife and family, John and wife Jeanie Aleman on their loss. Our prayers are with Joe and his entire family
Mrs. Patsy Vazquez Contes, Past State and National Chairwoman also suffered a great loss recently. Patsy lost her mother, Mrs. Hortencia F. Hernandez, 82, on Christmas Eve December 24, 2016. She died after a long illness. She was surrounded by her family. It is an unfortunately sad and a tragic loss during this Holy Season. Our Condolences to Patsy, her husband Luis, her family and friends. Our prayers and thoughts from all of us to you and your family.
John Martinez, Commander
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc.
In Memory of Rey Candia, a Beloved GI Forum Member
The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: La Feria, TX – The GI Forum sadly reports the passing of one of its leaders. Mr. Reynaldo Candia -72, Corporal in the U.S. Army 1963-65 Passed away peacefully at Valley Medical Center on Oct. 11, 2016, surrounded by his loving family. He was born on Oct. 26, 1943, fourth of ten children to the late Amparo M. Ivarra and Dario Candia in Edinburg, TX.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Anita Candia, his children- Rosalinda Sanchez (Gerald), Reynaldo Candia Jr., Samuel Candia (Sally), Cindy Candia (Juan), 13 Grandchildren, Brothers-Homer Reyes, Frank Ivarra, Gilbert Ivarra and David Ivarra- Sisters- Minverva Culver, Juanita Costilla and Elizabeth Carter.
After working 30 years at Texaco Refinery in Anacortes, Washington and farming in his spare time, Rey and Anita retired to Harlingen, Texas.
Rey was actively involved in the American GI Forum having served in many capacities locally, in State, Washington and Texas and on the National Board. He served as National and Texas State Sgt-at-Arms, as a member of the Board of National SER Jobs for Progress. He was also a member of other Veterans organizations incliding the American Legion Post 205, Disabled American Veterans Association, VFW, and was a member of International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, TOSA and many other veterans organizations.
Rey is preceded in death by his parents, brothers-Armando Aguilera and Phillip Lee Ivarra.
His extended family of the American GI Forum of Texas and its members from throughout the Nation send condolences and prayers to his family. The AGIF of Texas State Office, as requested by the State Commander, has on behalf of all our Texas members, sent flowers with a message to the family. We shall miss Rey, a warrior and a true patriot.
Services were held at Heavenly Grace Funeral Home Chapel on Friday October 14, 2016 from 1:00pm to 9:00pm with a rosary at 7:00pm. Funeral Service will be tomorrow Saturday October 15, 2016 at 10:00am with burial to follow at Heavenly Grace Memorial Park.
Remembering Angelita 'Angie' Hernandez Saenz
July 14, 1939 - August 28, 201
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: (Corpus Christi, Texas) Angelita Hernandez Saenz, 77, of Corpus Christi, TX a long-time Lifetime member of the American GI Forum (AGIF) passed away August 28, 2016. She was born in Kingsville, TX in 1939. Angie graduated from Texas A & I University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Education followed by a Master’s Degree in Marketing from University of Houston. She was married to Roque Saenz from 1961 to 1977. Shortly thereafter, she met her lifetime companion, Joe A. Garza with whom she spent the rest of her life.
Angelita Saenz had a 37year career in education with Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD) which she began at Sam Houston Elementary School followed by Roy Miller and King High Schools. She was a proud member of the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and American G.I. Forum as well as many other organizations. She was a very active member with the AGIF WestPort Women's Chapter for many years and gave much of her time and resources to benefit young people. Through her Chapter she donated to many worthy causes.
Angie Saenz was a very successful business woman who owned her own real estate company. She enjoyed leisure activities including BINGO and slot machines. Angelita was survived by her two sons Roland Christopher (Michele) and Rocky Charles Saenz (Blanca), six grandchildren Rocky, Russell, Ryan, Ronin, Rex and Angelina Saenz, four siblings Lorenza Padron, Florinda Carrion, Zenon Hernandez Jr. and Yolanda Galindo. She will be missed.
The Lucian Adams Chapter, American GI Forum, Expresses Deepest Condolences Regarding Death of Member Richard G. Perez
By State Commander John Martinez
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: Houston, Texas -- April 29, 2016 The death of Richard G. Perez is remembered today by the Lucian Adams Chapter, American GI Forum, and we express our deepest condolences to his beloved family and friends. Nuestros pesames!
We remember his heroic accomplishments. He was honorably discharged as Lance Corporal Richard G. Perez, a former soldier of theU.S. Marines who served in the Vietnam War duringthe 60’s, stationed west of Tam Ke, Vietnam, twenty-five miles from Loatian border where tragically sustained extreme injuries on February 7, 1967 during military missions. He served from 1966-67. His discharge occurred on April 1, 1968 from theU.S. MarineCorps attheNaval Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Our esteemed member had been a faithful member of theAmerican GI Forum, Lucian Adams Chapter, Houston, Texas for a duration of fifteen years, and he held the position of former Lucian Adams Chapter Commander. In 2015, Angel Zuniga, American GI Forum National Commander, at the 66th American GI Forum Annual National Convention, accepted a resolution, unanimously voted, from our chapter supporting in awarding Mr. Perez a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic acts during the Vietnam conflict, an application that unfortunately did not reach the full attention of United States President Barak Obama.
In closing, our Chapter will always hold the honor and devotion to family, country and membership as a member of the Lucian Adams Chapter, American GI Forum. Funeral arrangements are in progress and will be realease as soon as they are finalized.
John Martinez, State Commander, American GI Forum
and Jesus Cantu Medel, M.Ed., Local Commander
Lucian Adams Chapter, American GI Forum
Dr. C.P. Garcia, Last Remaining Brother to AGIF Founder Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Dies
AGIF San Antonio, Texas -- Dr. C.P. Garcia, who was the last living brother of the American GI Forum Founder, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, died Sunday night April 24th in a San Antonio hospital.
The 92-year-old medical doctor died of complications from a heart attack suffered about six weeks ago. Days after he was discharged he began experiencing more difficulties and was readmitted on Saturday. Not abel to recover from this setback, he passed away on Sunday.
The doctor in recent years practiced medicine and participated in the American G.I. Forum until about two years ago when he started having health issues.
Dr. C.P. Garcia lived in San Antonio with his wife Elizabeth, and daughter Mary Gayle Arambula, and son Adrian Garcia. Other surviving children are Libby Garcia from Pueblo, Colorado, and Damian Garcia from Dallas. He also is survived by his sister Dr. Dalia Garcia, several grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The American GI Forum of Texas is sadden at this loss. Commander Martinez, the State Board of Directors and the State Office offer condolences and prayers to the family.
Former National Chairwoman
Marian M. Martinez, Nebraska, Passed Away December 19, 2015
Former National Chairwoman Marian M. Martinez, a lifetime of the American GI Forum (AGIF), a Nebraska member passed has away December 19, 2015 at her home surrounded by her children and family. Marian was a Former National Chairwoman who also served as Nebraska State Chairwoman, was very dedicated, active, and firmly committed to the American GI Forum mission. We are sadden on this huge loss for the American GI Forum. Marian was a lifelong community activist and dedicated to improving the lives of everyone she touched. Among her many achievements, earlier this year Marian was awarded 2015 AGIF Woman of the Year Leadership Award at the National Conference in San Francisco. She will be missed.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Chuck and Jennie Garcia; and brother, Jerry Garcia. She leaves behind her children, Carole Cruse and husband Mitch Cruse, Roberta Wilkie, Robert Martinez and wife Tammy Martinez, and Jerry Martinez, all of Omaha, and her son Marty Martinez of Boston, MA. She also had 7 grandchildren; and 2 great grandchildren.
As State Commander, on behalf of the American GI Forum of Texas Board, members and families and her many close friends within the AGIF Family, Local and State, in this time of bereavement and with deepest sympathy we offer condolence to her family and close friends in Nebraska. Her services will be Wednesday, December 23 at 11:00 am at Korisko Larkin Staskeiwicz Funeral Home, 5108 F St Omaha, NE (402) 731-1234. Interment, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. A CELEBRATION of Marian’s Life will follow at 12:30 at Sokol Hall, 2234 South 13th Street.
Sadly, I will not be able to attend the services, but we, together with her many friends in Texas, will keep her and her family in our thoughts and prayers. She will be missed, may she Rest in Peace. The American GI Forum of Texas State Office in lieu of flowers will send a donation to the Marian Martinez Scholarship Fund on behalf of all our members.
John Martinez, Commander,
NOTE: Members may send Memorial gifts and/or donations for the Marian Martinez Scholarship Fund, C/O Carole Cruse, 16532 Yort Avenue, Omaha, NE 68116.
Louis P. Tellez AGIF Pioneer Passed Away December 4, 2015
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: Albuquerque, New Mexico – Louis M. Tellez, a trailblazer and champion of Civil Rights for Hispanic Veterans, passed away on December 4, 2015 at the age of 92.
Louis is survived by his wife, Isabelle Ogaz de Tellez; four children: Inez, Carlos (Stephanie), Celia (Cam), and Monica; and four grandchildren: Stephen, Nicolas, Nathaniel and Alanna.
Louis M. Tellez and his wife Isabelle Tellez de Ogaz are synonymous with The American GI Forum of New Mexico. They devoted their entire adult life to this organization. They served in many capacities as members, officers and mentors.
Louis and Isabelle were married on May 21, 1955. They are the parents of four children, Inez, Carlos, Celia and Monica.
Louis is a WWII veteran and recognized as one of the trail blazers of the Mexican American Civil Right’s Movement. Since 1948, Louis has been dedicated and committed to the civil rights of Mexican Americans at local state and national levels. He has served as National, State and local Commander. He also served as National Executive Secretary for 14 years at the National Headquarters in Albuquerque.
He was invited by President Lyndon B. Johnson to meet with him in the Rose Garden at the White House to help prepare the nation for acceptance of the Civil Right’s Act of 1964 and in support of the Community Relations Service. Later he was one of the Mexican American Leaders summoned by President Johnson to a Cabinet Committee Hearing on Mexican American Affairs and to address the problems of the Mexican American Community in the Nation.
The meeting included all the members of his Cabinet and opened the door for later meetings with Cabinet members. Besides the Mexican American Leaders, approximately 2,500 delegates nation-wide attended the hearing.
Louis was later called upon by the President to be present at the signing of the Chamisal Treaty between the President of the U.S. and the President of Mexico. The Treaty between the two countries called upon the U.S. to return land to Mexico along the border adjoining Juarez.
Because of his efforts National Commander Louis Tellez and Founder Dr. Hector P. Garcia were responsible for the appointment of the first Mexican Americans to be named as: EEOC Commissioner of the Inter-Agency Committee on Mexican American Affairs; the first Commissioner of the US. Civil Rights Commission; the first Chairman of the Cabinet Committee and the first delegate to the United Nations.
Louis was an initial board member of SER, and attended the General Session of the United Nations with United States Ambassador to the U.N., Dr. Hector P. Garcia. He was given an award by the Association of the United Nations for Promotion of Human Rights and for his civil rights initiatives.
A Rosary will be held Monday, Dec 21st, 7:00p.m. at Reflections Funerals & Life Celebrations; Funeral Mass to follow on Tuesday, Dec 22, 10:00a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church. He will be laid to rest at the Veterans cemetery in Santa Fe on Wednesday, December 23rd at 11:15a.m.
Please visit Louis' online guestbook at www.Reflectionoflife.com - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/abqjournal/obituary.aspx?n=louis-p-tellez&pid=176966525&fhid=27101&eid=sp_shareobit#sthash.qVsfq8ST.dpuf
Reymundo “Ray” Moreno Falcon
Reymundo “Ray” Moreno Falcon, a member of American GI Forum Fort Stockton Chapter passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, at age 83 surrounded by his loved ones. Mr. Falcon was born Jan. 31, 1932.
Ray, a devoted member of the American GI Forum served the organization with distinction. He as a member of the Fort Stockton Chapter devoted many hours promoting the Organization's mission of involvement in many worthy causes.
Ray, an U.S. Army veteran joined the U.S. Army on October, 1952 and was stationed in the Philippines and Korea thru 1954. His military service and the people he met during this time would have great impact on his life. After leaving the military, He joined various veteran’s organizations: Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and American G.I. Forum. Over the years he worked to keep the memory of veterans alive by participating in numerous flag raising ceremonies, Memorial Day ceremonies and Veterans Day services.
As a member of the American G.I. Forum since 1956, Ray worked tirelessly to further the forum’s primary goal—the promotion of education thru post-secondary scholarships. Having served as president, vice-president, secretary, scholarship committee vice-chairman and scholarship committee chairman, he spent countless hours in many charitable activities such as the preparation of food baskets for needy families, “Beautify Texas” highway cleanup projects and Christmastime charity activities. Throughout his lifetime he attended the forum’s district, regional, state and national conventions and served on nominating, resolution and convention site boards.
Falcon worked as an orderly in San Antonio at the state hospital to put himself thru classes at the Louis Barber/Styling College, from which he graduated. He was a licensed barber for 59 years and the proud owner of El Caballero Barber Shop since 1972.
Mr. Falcon devoted countless hours to many worthy causes, including but not limited to March of Dimes, American Cancer Society and Southwest Voter Registration Project, a nonpartisan organization whose goal is to promote voter awareness and increase voter registration.
In 1995 Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce named Mr. Falcon Citizen of the Year.
As a member of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church for 62 years, Mr. Falcon served as Eucharistic minister, usher, religious and educational fundraising member, and member of the Holy Name Society.
Mr. Falcon is survived by his wife of 59 years, Josephine Scott Falcon; daughter, Rebecca Ureta and husband Mike Jr. of Fort Stockton; brothers Valentine Barrera Jr. of Fort Stockton and Eloy and Ben Falcon both of San Antonio; sisters, Lydia Larralde, Helen Leos, Carrie Villareal and Connie Rodriguez of San Antonio; and grandson, Andrew Scott Ureta of Fort Stockton.
We regret to inform the members that due to late notice we did not have information on his services. Ray was laid to rest on Saturday, November 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church. Burial followed at Fort Stockton Catholic Cemetery. The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc., State Office, Mr. John Martinez, State Commander, its officers and members express deep sentiments and offer condolences and prayers to his wife and family and to the Chapter. Ray Falcon shall be missed.
Mrs. Tula B. Sanchez Dies at 79
McAllen, Texas - Tula B. Sanchez, 79, beloved wife of Robert P. ‘Bob’ Sanchez, long-time Legal Advisor for the American GI Forum of the U.S. and of Texas, was called by our Lord on March 25, 2015. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 28, 2015. At 2:00 p.m., Our Lady of Sorrows Church in McAllen in her honor, and the burial will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens cemetery.
Tula Sanchez attended Holding Institute in Laredo Texas, graduated from Mission High School, and held a Bachelor's degree from Pan American College, studying Education and Music.
Her love of music and the arts was shown through by her lifelong contributions to the Pan American Roundtable of McAllen, the International Museum of Art & Science Guild, the McAllen Child Study Club, the international Woman's Board, the Octet Choir at Pan American College, and her service as a pianist to El Mesias Methodist Church in Mission Texas.
Tula loved to spend time outdoors with her family, particularly at Tula Ranch, where she cherished the wild game and the freedom of the open spaces. The ranch was acquired by her father, Dr. Cayetano Barrera Sr.,' for the family in 1941 which is enjoyed by her family and friends to this day. She was an accomplished pianist and appreciated the symphony orchestra. She could often be found at the piano entertaining family and friends. Those who had the pleasure of enjoying her fantastic home cooking, will miss the variety of favorite meals such as her enchiladas, menudo, ' poblana rice, chili reIlenos, carrot cakes and pies.
She was a loving wife to her husband for 55 years and a devoted mother who selflessly placed the needs of her family before her own. She will be deeply missed by her family and friends
Tula Sanchez is survived by her husband R.P. "Bob”. Sanchez, children Sonia (Roc!), Richard (Conny), and Edward (Dahlia), seven grandchildren, Josef, Christian, Jacob, Sebastian, Anton, Emma and Liliana, her brother Cayetano Barrera M.D., and sister Aida Torres; and preceded in death by her parents Cayetano and Simona Barrera, her eldest son Robert (Karin), brothers Luis Barrera, Reynaldo Barrera, and sisters Alma Siporin, Anna Guerra, Velia Valedez, and Olga Gonzalez.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate your donations to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486 Houston, TX 77210-4486, 800-525-5841. Kreidlerfuneralhome.com. Sign the guestbook at www.themonitor.com/obituaries. http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/themonitor/tula-b-sanchez-condolences/174491984?cid=full
Longtime AGIF Friend Lester L. "Buddy" Williams, Jr. Passed Away February 16, 2015
LESTER L. "BUDDY" WILLIAMS, JR., age 79, a resident of Irving for 48 years, died Monday, February 16, 2015 in Carrollton. Born October 21, 1935 in Rio Grande City, Texas, the son of Lester Lee Williams, Sr. and Maria Leija Williams, he was a U.S. Army Veteran of Korea.
Lester was a good friend of the AGIF/NVOP and attended many of the meetings held throughout the country. He was also present at most National and Texas State Conventions. He had many friends within the organization and he will be missed. The American GI Forum as well as the NVOP offer their condolences to the family and ask that all members keep him and his family in their prayers.
Buddy married Corina Herrera on May 31, 1959 in San Antonio. He was a member of the Church of the Incarnation at the University of Dallas campus in Irving. He was a Regional Administrator for Region V - Dallas Veteran's Employment and Training Service and had been a government employee for 48 years, retiring in January, 2012.
Survivors include his wife Corina of Irving; sons. Lester Williams, III of Irving and Wayne Williams and wife Tanya of Grapevine; daughters, Lisa Levermann and husband Charles of Shreveport, Louisiana, Carla Rivero and husband William of Irving, Karen Almaguer and husband Manuel of Irving, and Angela De Leon and husband Alfonso of Coppell; grandchildren, Austyn, Cherie, Andie, Taylor, Madison, Wilson, Olivia, Sarah. Braxton, Sam, Mia, Allie, Ava and Alex; two great granddaughters, Charlie and Chelsie.
Visitation is 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., Sunday, February 22 at Donnelly's Colonial Funeral Home Chapel. 606 West Airport Freeway in Irving with a Rosary to be said at 6:00 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial is 10:00 a.m., Monday, February 23 at the Church of the Incarnation, University of Dallas Campus, 1845 East Northgate Drive in Irving. Interment service will be 12:30 p.m. Monday at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Lane C.
Ernestino Ortega, AGIF Pioneer Dies at 88
Designed American GI Forum Shield in 1948
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, TX–Today we learned that Mr. Ernestino Ortega, a charter member and the designer of our American GI Forum Shield had passed away. I received a call from one of his daughters Elizabeth (Liza), who gave me the sad news. She asked that I inform the members, and I asked if she would send me some pictures and a short bio so that we may be able to pay tribute to such an important member of the American GI Forum family. Below read her response and information on his life and services.
Dear Mr. Rodriguez,
“My father, after his family, was most proud of his contribution to the American GI Forum. In 1948 at the age of 23, our dad's design of the American GI Forum Shield was chosen by the founder of the American GI Forum Dr. Hector P. Garica. He started the Mickey Espinosa AGIF Chapter in Amarillo, Texas and had the opportunity to host a convention, in Amarillo”
“He served his country in the United States Navy from 1944 - 1946 as a Seaman 2nd. Class. He moved his family to Amarillo, Texas in 1952 and worked for Gilvin & Terrill road construction for 35 yrs. He was also a member of the American Legion.”
An AGIF Legend
Mr. Ernestino Ortega, 88, passed away on October 31, 2014 in Winter Springs, FL. Mr. Ortega was born on November 11, 1925 in McAllen, TX to Ysidro and Josefina Ortega. Ernestino married Elia Galvan in McAllen on January 17th.,1944 and were married 70 years.
After a 10 year battle with Alzheimer's he succumb to complications resulting by Alzheimer's.He is survived by his wife Elia G. Ortega, one son Daniel Ortega and his wife Lolly of Texas City; two daughters Mary Ernestina (Tina) Callender of Miami, FL, Mary Elizabeth (Liza) Ortega and her partner Karen Shank of Winter Park, FL.; 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
The American GI Forum is saddened at the loss of another early pioneers who played an important role in the development of the American GI Forum. There are some members of the American GI Forum who had the pleasure of knowing him and may remember wonderful memories of times spent during younger years! And others, though not having known him, can think fondly of him for the design of the shield as his legacy and the brand of our beloved American GI Forum.
He leaves behind a wonderful family. Our sincere sympathies to them and we pray that they will all be a great source of comfort and support to one another. May Ernestino Rest in Peace.
A memorial service will be held at DeGusipe Funeral Home in Maitland tomorrow, Friday, November 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to your favorite charity. Anyone who may have any memories or photos of Ernestino we would appreciate it if they would post it on the following site. www.degusipefuneralhome.com/ <https://www.google.com/#>
Leon M. Hernandez, San Antonio Miguel Hernandez Chapter Dies
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO, TX– Leon M. Hernandez, 86 of San Antonio passed away on Saturday, September 6, 2014. He was born April 11, 1928 in Corpus Christi, TX to Marcus and Manuela (Salinas) Hernandez. He was awarded a BA in Business Administration from UT Austin in 1952. A Veteran of the Korean War, he served as 1st LT in the U.S. Army and awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He was a long-time member of the American GI Forum Miguel Hernandez Chapter in San Antonio. He was also a member of the American Legion. Leon, a respected leader had a strong belief in educational opportunities for Hispanics.
Dedicated to LULAC over 70 years, he was involved with Scholarship Funding for Council #2 serving as President and the founding of Council #602 and recognized as 'Outstanding Man of the Year'. Instrumental in establishing Project SER, Leon also had strong ties to Civic and political organizations:Fiesta Commission, Paracutin Civic Educational Foundation, G.I. Forum, American Legion and served as Democratic Precinct Chairman.
Leon is survived by his wife, Brenda L. Hernandez; daughter, Leandra Hernandez; son, Carl Walker; brother, Richard L. Hernandez, his wife, Virginia and nieces and nephews. Graveside Service with Military Honors were conducted on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 9:45am at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Board of Directors and members are sadden at the news and extend condolences to the Hernandez family. May he rest in peace.
Sid Duran, California Passed Away August 28, 2014
American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: The Texas State office has learned that past National Sgt-at-Arms, Isidro "Sid" Duran passed away. He was from San Jose, California and was a member of the East Valley Chapter for many years. He was a popular figure at National Events with his colorful 'Pachuco" outfits.
Besides a National Officer, Sid and was a past Chapter Commander, and a past California State Forum officer.
Sid served many years as National Sgt-at-Arms. We do not have too much information, other than he had been ill for some time. He was present at the Las Vegas Midyear last year. He was a devoted member and was supportive of all GI Forum activities, always a volunteer that help out at all events.
"El Pachuco" was born in Morill, Nebraska on May 15, 1931. He passed away August 28, 2014 at 0845 am. He was 83 years old. The photos on right were sent to us from one of our state and national officers.
We apologize for not bringing you this information earlier, but we only learned recently from one of our State officers who found out through Facebook.
We ask National Secretary Greg Nichols, who is in touch with Sid's family, to convey our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the Duran Family. He will be missed. Texas Commander John Martinez, members of the Board of Directors and members in Texas join together keeping their thoughts and prayers with Sid's family. May he rest in Peace.
Daniel Sandoval, Long-Time Forumeer Passed Away May 21, 2014
Daniel Sandoval, long-time resident of Pueblo, Colorado, passed away peacefully on May 21, 2014, surrounded by love ones who helped ease his way into God’s heaven. He was 84. Devoted husband of 67 years to his childhood sweetheart, Maria Viola Sanchez Sandoval.
"Today is a sad day, we lost one longtime time friend and brother Mr Daniel Sandoval. . . " –Natonal Commander Luis Vazquez Contes.
Cherished father of Diane Sanchez (deceased; Richard); Barbara Terrazas (Alfredo) and Emma Jayne Sandoval. Adored Grandfather of Rick and Sacha Sanchez; Heather Renee Sandoval and Alicia Terrazas-Fleming. Beloved great-grandfather of Jonathan Sanchez (Veronica Olivas); Nika Sanchez; Darion and Zarek Sanchez; Daniel and Breyanna Sandoval; Tatiana Andrews, Kyleigh Richardson; Dominic Fleming and D’Layni and Deion’dre Jones.
Born in La Junta on January 25, 1930 to Benjamin and Juanita Montano Sandoval, Daniel was the second child and first son among 14 siblings. He was pre-deceased by Emilia, Wilfredo, Bensito, William (Jimmy), Conrad Patricio and Mary Gertrude. He is survived by siblings Pablo, Joseph (Bernie), Maria Teresa, Betty Jean, Rebecca, Veronica and Johnny. â€¨â€¨
Known as Dan to all, he was an avid advocate for equal rights for Latinos, especially those who had served in our country’s armed services.
Dan attended Keating Middle School where he met the love of his life, Viola, before they both went on to Central High School. Thereafter, at the early age of 17, they wed and started their family. Dan studied hard and won acceptance into an electrical engineering program in the Navy where he trained in Chicago, Illinois. Upon graduation, Dan progressed into ever-increasing responsibilities and led teams of engineers specializing in state-of-the-art weapons calibrations deployed at bases all over the world, including Panama, Cuba, San Francisco and Hawaii. His service both as a military-man and later as a civilian contractor spanned both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, always trusted with top military clearances.
During his multiple engagements he calibrated early and later models of the Minuteman and Nike-Ajax missile systems, including on board Navy vessels where he had to be airlifted onto ships during violent storms and inclement weather.
After his separation from the military, Dan had civilian appointments with the Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as with the Social Security Administration. And, while in these engagements, Dan sought-out and mentored college students who used internships with Dan as stepping-stones for admission to premier universities, including the University of California at Berkeley.
Dan stayed active in civic service in retirement by continuing his long-time affiliation with groups such as the American G.I. Forum, LULAC, SER and MAPA. Dan co-founded an American G.I. Forum chapter is San Leandro, California and in retirement went on to assume a leadership role with the American G.I. Forum Chapter in Pueblo where he rose to the rank of State Commander in 1999 and later as Interim Executive Director of the National G.I. Forum office.
Family and friends are invite you to the Rosary tonight at the Shrine of Saint Therese Catholic Church located at 300 Goodnight Ave., Pueble CO. A service with Military Honors is scheduled for next Tuesday prior to inturnment directly following the Mass at Imperial Funeral Home at 5450 Hwy 78, Pueblo, Co, 81005.â€¨â€¨
The family wishes to thank the dedicated staff at the Pueblo Offices of the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center as well as the Joni Fair Hospice House for their selfness care and support during Dan’s final days.
Manuel Nunez, AGIF Pioneer Dies in Fort Stockton, Texas
AGIF Report: FORT STOCKTON, TX – AGIF Report: FORT STOCKTON, TX – Mr. Manuel Nunez; a long time American GI Forum (AGIF) of Texas member passed away April 2, 2014 he was 94. Mr. Nunez, founder of the Ft. Stockton GI Forum Chapter dedicated his life to family, church and the American GI Forum. He helped and served as part of the NVOP network in Ft. Stockton when the program first started.
A WWII veteran, his devotion to family and church was only matched by his dedication to his fellow veterans. He was a respected citizen and community leader in Ft Stockton and responsible for many years for raising funds for scholarships and helping those in need on behalf of the AGIF. The Annual AGIF Golf Tournament in Ft. Stockton was named in his honor. He and his chapter, to raise funds for young men and women to continue their education, started this annual event. His peers at the Austin State Convention honored him with a Lifetime of Achievement Award in June 2010.
During the 75th Legislature of the State of Texas, then State Representative Pete Gallego from Texas HD74 introduced H.C.R. No. 68 and was adopted by the House on February 11, 1997, by a nonâ€‘record vote honoring Mr. Nunez.
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, Manuel R. Nunez has devoted much of his life to assisting and serving the residents of Fort Stockton, and his remarkable dedication will be rewarded on February 15, 1997, when St. Joseph Park is renamed in his honor; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Nunez’s contributions to the Fort Stockton community have had a positive effect on many of this fine city’s residents; whether working through his church, the chamber of commerce, or the local chapter of the American G.I. Forum, this esteemed gentleman has made a difference in the lives of a great many people; and
WHEREAS, A longtime member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Mr. Nunez is in charge of this institution’s numerous charitable endeavors, including its food bank and thrift store; during one particularly trying period that found the church without a pastor, this exceptional man was appointed as the parish’s acting administrator, and in 1980 he was justly recognized as St. Joseph’s “Person of the Year”; and
WHEREAS, In 1986, the Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce named Mr. Nunez its “Outstanding Citizen” for his commitment to the community; he has been involved with the chamber for many years and has capably served on its board of directors and as second vice president of the executive board; and
WHEREAS, A World War II veteran, Mr. Nunez was one of the first residents of Pecos County to accept his country’s call to arms, and today he assists fellow veterans in applying for their Veteran’s Administration benefits; in addition, this selfless Texan has acted as the services and rehabilitation chairman for the local branch of the American Cancer Society for many years; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Nunez’s service to Fort Stockton extends into the area of education as well, and his terms as president of the Butz School Parent Teacher Association and as program chairman of the Assist, Instruct, Direct and Educate (AIDE) program were highly successful; in addition, as the first chairman of the Pecos County Community Action Agency’s board of directors, Mr. Nunez has done much to protect and increase the benefits of low income families; and
WHEREAS, Manuel R. Nunez has earned the respect and admiration of his fellow citizens for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of those in need, and his enthusiasm in these endeavors is truly deserving of special legislative recognition; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 75th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby honor Manuel R. Nunez for his manyyears of service to the city of Fort Stockton and extend to him sincere best wishes for continued success and happiness in the years to come; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for Mr. Nunez as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.
Texas State Representative Pete Gallego
On behalf of the American GI Forum of Texas Board and families and his many close friends in the AGIF Family, throughout the State, in this time of bereavement and with deepest sympathy we offer condolence to his family and close friends in Ft. Stockton. Our State office, members of the Board and others will be attending the services, and we ask others, specially those of you who knew to remember him, to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Joe C. Aguilera Jr.
Our Condolences to AGIF Tarrant County Commander Jesse Aguilera and his family on the recent loss of his father. Joe C. Aguilera Jr., 89, a WWII Veteran and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Funeral: 10 a.m. Friday at All Saints Catholic Church. Interment: Greenwood Memorial Park. Rosary: 6 p.m. Thursday in Greenwood Funeral Home Chapel. Joe was born in Hillsboro on Sept. 5, 1924, to Jose and Rosa Aguilera. He was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors: Wife, Tomasita Aguilera; daughters, Cindy Maldonado and husband, Joe, Sally Jekel and husband, Chris, and Gracie Escovedo and husband, Richard; sons, Jesse Aguilera and wife, Terre, Ron Aguilera and wife, Pamela; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; brother, Santos Aguilera; sister, Antonia Guajardo; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Remembering Frank Orozco, AGIF Member, Founder of The Latino Learning Center and Co-founder of the AGIF Houston Lucian Adams Chapter
The American GI Forum mourns the passing of Long-time Forumeer, Frank Orozco. Mr. Orozco lost his long battle with cancer and died on Aug 15, 2013.
Orozco was one of the founders of the Latino Learning Center in Houston in October 1979 when it acquired as a gift a dilapidated 21,300 square foot building. Private donations funded building remodeling and educational programs were initiated in 1983. With a grant from the City of Houston additional renovations were completed in 1999. Annually an average of 450 adults receives training in the various vocational and educational programs.
In the Early 80’s Frank Orozco and John Aleman decided to revive the old Houston chapter that had all but disappeared. Frank and John met with the chapter’s last commander, Mr. Lefty Cavazos. He gladly referred them to Dr. Hector P. Garcia in Corpus Christi. Dr. Garcia was very excited that someone in Houston was taking action to revive the chapter.
So, the Two Veterans took over and started recruiting until they had the required amount of members. Then they formed the Chapter and decided to rename it the “Lucian Adams Chapter.” Lucian Adams was a War World II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and lived in San Antonio.
Frank Orozco was a World War II Veteran and later was employed by the Veterans Administration where he retired after thirty years with the VA. dedicated his life as a public servant as a member of the American GI Forum, the League of United Latin American Citizens and many other community service organizations. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Lily M. Orozco, who was also very active with Frank’s activities.
Judge Abe Ramirez, San Antonio, passed away last Saturday, September 20, 2013. He served as a 2nd Lt in the Army during the Korean War from 1951-53. Judge Ramirez, a former member of the American GI Forum in Houston was one of the three founders for the Houston Latino Learning Center. The Latino Learning Center is a non-profit organization that teaches electrical and air conditioning courses, English as a second language, home buying program, a program for seniors and two senior housing projects. He also served as National Vice-President for the Southwest of LUAC. In Houston, he served ten years as a judge of the Municipal Court and was Assistant Chief Deputy in the office of the District Clerk before moving to San Antonio.
In San Antonio, he had served in the Municipal Court over 6 years before he retired. Among his endeavors he was part of the team from LULAC Council #60 in Houston which went to Washington, D.C. and was able to get funds for the "School of the 400" which later became the Headstart Program.
He is survived by his wife, Celia Ramirez; daughter, Sandra R. Murphy and husband Bob; grandsons, John Arismendez and wife Michelle, Joseph Neari and Jacob Neari; great grandchildren, Amora, Gavin and Christian Arismendez; brother, Ramiro Ramirez and wife Oralia and numerous nieces and nephews.
The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Commander, John Martinez, The Board of Directors and members throughout the state, during this time of bereavement, join in prayer, extending their condolences with deepest sympathy to the Ramirez Family.
An old friend, Juventino Q. "J.Q." Rodriguez, 78, of Salina, passed away Tuesday, July 30, 2013. A long-time Forumeer, He served as local chairman of American G.I. Forum, in Salina, (1958-1963), National Vice Chairman of American G.I. Forum (1972-1974). He was born Sept. 7, 1934 in Lyons, Kan. J.Q. was a United States Army veteran. He retired as a command sergeant major. J.Q. was an avid community activist on the local, state and national levels. He was passionate about his fight for civil rights as well as equal and educational opportunities for all.
Some of his community volunteer activities are as follows:Appointed by Gov. Docking of Kansas to serve on the Committee for Migrants and Low Income Farm Workers in 1972, elected to National Board of Directors Joint Action on the Community Service, Washington, D.C., appointed to National Board of Directors Veterans' Outreach Program, negotiated with 3rd Army Region (ROTC) for National Program for the Spanish speaking program implementation, chairman, EEOC U.S. Postal Service, negotiated Educational Program for State G.I. Forum, negotiated $36,000 contract with SRS to assist the reseeding of Indo-Chinese Refugees (1979-1984), directed and monitored more than $500,000 in CETA funds for G.I Forum Education Programs, member of American Legion, Salina, VFW Post 1432, Salina, and TREA. He was with the U.S. Postal Service in Salina for 30 years as a letter carrier and manager
He was layed to rest Saturday, Aug. 3, at Roselawn Cemetary in Salina. We regret not having posted notices earlier, but Memorials may still be made to TREA: The Enlisted Association, Chapter 16, P.O. Box 1774, Salina 67402-1774. For online condolences contact Roselawn at www.roselawnsalina.com.
The American GI Forum of the U.S. and the California GI Forum has have lost a great American and a loyal Forumeer. John Lopez, a member of the City of Commerce Chapter in California passed away on Tuesday July 2, 2013 of an apparent heart attack. John was a member of the California AGIF Executive Board where he served as California AGIF Treasurer until June 22, 2013 when he elected not to run again.
John was active in the AGIF where he lobbied The Congress of the U.S. and the Depart of Defense to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Sgt. Rafael Peralta. He also attended several National Conferences. He was currently employed by Northrop Grumman and was a key player in drafting a resolution to reverse the awarding of the Air Force refueling tanker contract to a European conglomerate and award the contract to a U.S. company.
We ask that you join us in remembering John in your prayers.
State Senator Mario Gallegos. The American GI Forum of Texas Inc. sadly to informed all members that a leader, not only in the Hispanic community, but for all of Texas had died. State Senator Mario Gallegos passed away Tuesday, October 16 at Methodist Hospital in Houston.
The American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. joined with other Texans in expressing support, prayers, and thoughts to the Gallegos’ family. Gallegos, served Texas for 22 years, first served as a state representative and since 1994 as a state senator representing the Houston Harris County District 6.
Senator Gallegos, was an Honorary Member of the American GI Forum and was a staunch supporter of the AGIF/TX, attending as speaker and guest to many AGIF events, Conferences and Board Meetings.
Senator Gallegos is survived by his wife, Theresa Gallegos, daughter Ali Templer, daughter Melissa Gallegos, son Mario Elias Gallegos, five grandchildren: Also survived by his mother, Olga Gallegos, sisters Maria Gallegos, Olga McGee, Lillian Villarreal, and Cynthia Trevino; brothers Joel Gallegos, and Michael Gallegos.
Catarino C. Delgado, Jr., NVOP Director was born October 11, 1950. He died on August 25, 2012 at his home near San Antonio, Texas. He played a key role in recent years in the growth and development of the National Veterans Outreach Program. His employees and peers remember him as a great and caring boss, friend to a lot of employees and a loyal director, a servant to all the homeless and veterans. He will truly be missed.
America Noel Valenzuela-Martinez, 41 of New Braunfels, Texas, passed away on September 12th, 2012, surrounded by her loving family and friends. She is survived by her husband Lorenzo Martinez; her mother Mary Alice Valenzuela; her brother Daniel Coronado Valenzuela; sister-in law, Michelle Denise Valenzuela; precious nieces, Nyssa Noelle Valenzuela and Alynna Danielle Valenzuela.
Louis Bolaños, El Pase del Norte AGIF member passed away on Sunday, Sept. 16. Chapter Commander Carlos Rivera received word from Louis’ wife and informed us, “It is with a heavy heart that I share these sad news. Mrs. Bolaños informed me that Louis passed away. He had been struggling with an agressive cancer that finally took him away from us. Louis was our American GI Forum Sergeant At Arms.”
Ms. Dora Moreno, a long time Austin Women’s member passed away, after a short illness, this morning August 17, 2012 in San Antonio. Ms. Moreno was a dear and loyal friend who chose to remain with the Austin Chapter even after having moved to San Antonio. She was a State employee before retiring to San Antonio. She is survived by her Mother and Father, her family and to her long-time companion Cosme Barcelo.
Oscar S. Guerra, 79, died Saturday, June 16, 2012. Oscar was born in Realitos, Texas, graduated from Benavides High School in 1951. He was a farmer and rancher on his family’s south Texas ranch. He was a veteran of the US Air Force, a successful metal buildings erector in San Antonio and Corpus Christi and was a proud member and Commander of the Hector P. Garcia Founding Chapter of the American G.I. Forum.
The State Office, when informed early sent flowers and information to members and ask that they remember them and their families in their thoughts and prayers.