In Remembrance. . .

My father-in-law was born in a small Texas mining town that is no longer in existence.  He was one of 17 children.  Shortly after his birth in 1935 his family moved back to Juarez, Mexico where they were originally from.
At 17 years old he and a cousin decided to come to the United States to work.  In those days there was no border patrol.  Right before he was about to reach the US border, his father caught up with him and it was then that he found out that he was already a US citizen.  His father gave him the proper papers for proof. 
He established a life for himself in El Paso, TX and then returned to Mexico to marry his long time sweetheart who then accompanied him back to El Paso where they raised a family of 5 children.
He was ordained a minister at their church and later on became an elder at the same church.  He avoided the limelight and was not comfortable with preaching in front of a large crowd.  His faith was unprecedented.  He was accepting and loving to all.
He was an uneducated man, having completed only up to the third grade but he had a PhD in common sense.  His childhood years were spent mainly working in concrete with his father and brothers. 
While they lived in Texas, they were very involved in providing refuge to those that were experiencing the turmoil of South America in the 1970s and 80s.  It was not uncommon for their simple adobe house to have up to 40 people sleeping on floors and wherever they could find room.  My father-in-law felt that it was his duty to protect these people despite that fact that he could have easily been arrested for doing so.  He was a courageous man and took many risks to help those in need.
Throughout the years he raised horses and other farm animals.  Many of the horses were purchased by the local police department after he had broken in and trained them.    
While there are conflicting stories of how they came to be in Phoenix, one of them is that they were driving back to Texas after visiting family in California and the car broke down along I-10.  They thought Phoenix looked like a nice place to live so they stayed. 
In addition to his wife of almost 50 years, he leaves behind two sons and three daughters, twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  He was a blessing to all that knew him and he touched many many lives throughout his own life.  Some of those lives he may have even saved at this risk of his own life.  He is and will forever be greatly missed.

Hubby's Family - Idaho, 1969


10 thoughts on “In Remembrance. . .

  1. What a wonderful tribute. 17 children – wow, that probably helped your father-in-law to be a more sharing and caring person. He had a very interesting life and his family must be very proud of what he achieved and the legacy he is leaving. I love the family photo of 1969.

    • Yes, I had to be sure I was hearing that right too. 17 is a lot but I once knew a man that was one of 22 kids. Wow! He was well loved by everyone and people came from all over the world for his funeral. The family was very touched.

      That is one of my favs too. The little guy next to my mother-in-law is my husband.

  2. he sounds absolutely amazing 🙂

  3. Seventeen children?!? From the same woman? Oy, I admire FIL’s mom’s fortitude!

    • Hi Kim, I think there were a few sets of triplets in there (another reason why I remain childless –with my luck I’d shoot for one and end up with 3 or more). 😉

  4. Wow, really, this was a great tribute. Border issues have only gotten worse since then. Our communities need more men like your Father in Law. What great character he had. Bless his soul.

    • I have to agree with you there. He was a very brave man and had a wonderful personality. Somedays its hard to believe that he is really gone. He was such a presence and the patriarch of the family.

  5. What a special person with a huge and generous heart. I’m sure his memory lives on through your husband daily.

    • He really was a special man. I was lucky to have him as a father-in-law. My husband does resemble him a bit and has his same sense of humor so his memory (or maybe I should call it his legacy) live on through my husband.

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