Gustavo Jose Peña, age 96, peacefully passed away at home on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. His beloved wife of 66 years Ana Lucila Farias Peña predeceased him in 2007. Both were born and raised in Laredo, were married in 1941, and made Brownsville their home in 1947.
The son of Eduardo F. and Clementina Merriweather Peña, Gustavo graduated from Laredo High School in 1934. As a Boy Scout in high school he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1938 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He was awarded a tour of Europe having won the cotton classification competition from the university's School of Agriculture.
Mr. Peña began his military service in 1938 as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps Reserve. He was activated in 1941 and served as captain in the Army Artillery in the Pacific Theater until 1945, serving with distinction and honor.
After World War II, Gustavo resumed his career in the cotton trade with Empresas Longoria. Upon moving to Brownsville, he established its domestic office as Gulf Pacific Cotton Agency, where he worked until his retirement at age 84 in 2001. He was active in both the American and Texas Cotton Shippers associations. In his work as a cotton exporter Gustavo and his wife Lucila traveled throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia.
Beyond dedicating his life to family and friends, Gustavo served the Brownsville community in various capacities. He served as: a founding board member of the Brownsville Public Utility Board; a president of the Brownsville Rotary International Club (1973 Rotarian of the Year); a member of the Order of the Alhambra, a Catholic and charitable organization; a board member of the Brownsville Society for Crippled Children; a board member of the Brownsville Medical Center, and a trustee of the Brownsville and Rio Grande International Railroad. He also devoted many hours to the St. Joseph Academy and Villa Maria School booster clubs.
Gustavo is survived by his brother William (Willie) M. Peña of Houston. His brother Augusto Peña of Laredo predeceased Gustavo.
Gustavo was a loving and supportive father, grandfather, great- grandfather and uncle. He is survived by his children, Gustavo Jr., (of Brownsville); Oscar and his wife Rochelle (of Plano) and their children Danielle, Oscar Jr., and Nicole; Federico and his wife Cindy (of Denver) and their children Nelia, Cristina, Ryan Peña and Pilar Velasquez; Alfredo and his wife Dolores (of Denver) and their daughter Simone Atencio; Ana Carmela Flores and husband Victor Jr. † (of Laredo) and her children David, Edward and his wife Janice and their twin daughters June and Olive, and Marc Flores; and Alberto J. and his wife Margaret (of San Antonio) and their children Alberto F. and his wife Mara, Kristin and her husband Russell Michna, and Laurin Peña.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with recitation of the holy rosary at 7 p.m., today, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, in the West Chapel of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home. The Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 602 E. Elizabeth St., Brownsville, Texas. Entombment will follow in the Mausoleum at Buena Vista Burial Park.
Pallbearers for Gustavo's services will be his grandsons: David, Edward, and Marc Flores and Alberto F., Oscar Jr., and Ryan Peña.
In lieu of flowers, Gustavo's family is requesting that memorial gifts be made out to St. Joseph's Academy (Gustavo J. and Lucila Peña Scholarship Fund) at St. Joseph's Academy, 101 St. Joseph Drive, Brownsville, TX 78520 or to the Lucila Peña Memorial Scholarship Endowment at the University of Texas at Brownsville, 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, TX 78520.
You may view the obituary, sign the guest book, and send your condolences online to the Peña family at www.darlingmouser.com.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Darling-Mouser Funeral Home, 945 Palm Blvd., Brownsville, TX 78520, (956) 546-7111.
Published in Brownsville Herald on Feb. 17, 2013