Legendary El Pasoan Paul C. Moreno passed away on Friday, September 1, 2017 at the age of 86. To his beloved community, he was a activist, a crusader, a leader, a legislator, a patriot, a pioneer, an icon and a legend. To his family, he was a beloved Daddy, doting "Tata", loving Brother, Uncle and friend. He was preceded in death by his parents, Avelina and Reyes Moreno Sr., siblings, Julieta Rodriguez, Ramon Moreno, Delia McKee, Antonio (Tony) Moreno, Johnny Moreno, Reyes (Savage) Moreno Jr., "Las Cuatitas"(infant twins), and Luis (Louie) Moreno. He is survived by his only daughter, Annette Moreno-Alvarado, his three granddaughters, Innette, Evette (Nathan) and Amarette, great-grandchildren, Josiah Paul Trevizo and Ariah Navette Trevizo, Brother, Freddy (Carol) Moreno, Sister, Blanche Darley and numerous beloved nieces and nephews and family members. Paul C. Moreno began his journey on April 28, 1931 as one of twelve children born to Avelina Ramirez and Reyes Moreno, Sr. He began his community organizing at the age of 14 when he worked under the guidance of Father Gaynor to help create the first Catholic Youth Organization in El Paso. He dropped out of Bowie High School at the age of 17 to join the U.S. Marine Corps. and served our nation in the Korean War. For his service, he was awarded multiple medals including the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation with two bronze stars, Korean Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Korean Service Medals with Silver and Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal. At the age of 22, he broke his neck in a diving accident and nearly drowned. The incident left him a quadriplegic restricted to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. However, he never let his disability get in the way of his pursuit of a full and active life dedicated to the service of his community and country that he loved so dearly. Paul Moreno was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1966. Representative Moreno arrived on the political scene at a time when Mexican-Americans were feeling the social brunt of social and economic discrimination. During his historic 40 year career he earned a reputation as a ferocious fighter for the disadvantaged that ultimately earned him a designation by his colleagues as the "Conscience of the Texas House". In 1971, Moreno led the "Dirty Thirty", a group of House members that stood against the Speaker of the House and other Texas officials charged in a bribery - conspiracy investigation. In 2003, he was also a "Killer D", one of 51 House members who fled the state in order to break a quorum and successfully defeat an unfair redistricting bill. In recent history, he was most proud of his work in the Higher Education committee where he was an unfaltering advocate for the passage of the South Texas Border Initiative-an effort that brought important new monies to UTEP. In January 2007, when he began his 20th term, Representative Moreno reached a new milestone, that of the longest tenured state elected official and the longest tenured member of the Texas House of Representatives. So far, he is the only Mexican-American ever to enjoy the status of "Dean of the Texas House." He was recognized by the National Association for Latino Elected Officials as the longest serving Hispanic public official in the United States. Representative Moreno received countless local, state and national awards. Chief among them is the PUSH Excel National Award, presented to him by Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of operation PUSH, which recognizes excellence and achievement of the best against all odds. Indeed, the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees agreed when in 1996, they voted to honor him by dedicating the Paul C. Moreno Elementary School. As a citizen and attorney, Paul Moreno fought tirelessly for a fairer and more equitable community. He was a proud leader of the Chicano Movement. He led the fight for those that advocated on behalf of the marginalized and the unrepresented. He was a pioneering leader in countless organizations including the Mexican-American Bar Association, the Democratic Party, the El Paso Legal Assistance Society and the Tejano Democrats, just to name a few. He inspired countless individuals to public service and served as a mentor to generations of leaders that followed him. His pallbearers include: the Honorable David Briones, Mark Chavez, Kurt Festermacher, Robert Grijalva, Humberto Lopez Jr., Alfredo (Freddy) Moreno, Alfredo V. Moreno, David Moreno, Jimmy Moreno, Adrian Teran, Nathan Trevizo and Don Valdiviezo. Honorary pallbearers include: Alicia Chacon, Blanche Darley, Ramon De La Paz, Linda Mais, Toni Mais, Delia McKee, Derrick Moreno, Enrique Moreno, John Moreno - from California, Robert Moreno - from California, Jesus B. Ochoa, Julie Reynolds, Raymundo Rodriguez, Ruben and Lucy Salcido, Dolores Ituarte Valenzuela and Julie Yarbrough. A viewing for Paul Moreno will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 602 S. Oregon St., with a rosary at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart, with burial at 10:30 a.m. at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.
Published by El Paso Times from Sep. 5 to Sep. 13, 2017.