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Major Roberto De La Cruz, Retired

Obituary for Major Roberto De La Cruz, Retired

September 5, 1926 - June 11, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 90


Roberto was born September 5, 1926 in San Benito, Texas. He died at the age of 90 on June 11, 2017 in Austin, Texas. He was preceded in death by his mother, Guadalupe Flores; father, Manuel; brother, Manuel; sister, Lupe Olivarez; sons, Roberto and Roberto II; and daughter, Celia.

Roberto is survived by his wife of 69 years, Nora B. De La Cruz; daughters, Belinda Emami, Cynthia Carrasquillo and husband Pablo, Becky Tovar and husband Dan, Sandra and wife Darcie Sague, Santa, Rosario; son, Bob and wife Diana; sister, Ester Salazar; 16 grandchildren; and 6 great- grandchildren.

Roberto was a child who grew up in poverty after becoming an orphan at age 2. He then lived with his maternal grandmother Celia Garza Martinez until her death when Roberto was 7 years old. He was then raised by his aunt Gonzala Martinez. Roberto worked as a boy sweeping floors, washing dishes at a local restaurant, selling funeral announcements or versos on the street corners, and selling eggs to contribute to the family who had taken him in.

During WWII, at the age of 15, Roberto enlisted in the United States Navy. At age 16, he boarded the USS Saratoga CV3 and served throughout the South Pacific during the war. Roberto was on an anti-aircraft gun crew team, protecting the aircraft carrier from numerous Japanese Zero kamikaze attacks. Roberto served in many battles and campaigns while aboard the "Sara" including Guadalcanal, The Battle of the Eastern Solomons, New Georgia, Bougainville, Gilbert, the Marshall Island Campaigns, Sabang Soerabaja, and Iwo Jima. It was in the Navy where Roberto made lifelong friends and bonds that were never broken. As long as he was able, he went to Saratoga Reunions with Nora, where they reunited with fellow shipmates and their wives. His time aboard the "Sara" allowed Roberto to gain the worldly experiences that shaped his future goals and aspirations.

Earning his High School Diploma through correspondence courses aboard the "Sara," Roberto returned to San Benito after WWII ended. He then completed his Associates Degree at what is now Southmost Jr. College. It was here that he met and eloped with Nora. Wanting to further his education, Roberto and Nora moved to Austin, Texas, where he enrolled at the University of Texas and majored in Engineering. After the birth of his first two daughters, he worked for the Texas Highway Department. At the same time, Roberto joined the Air Force Reserves. In the early 1960s during the "Cuban Missile Crisis," Roberto went into Active Duty as 1st Lieutenant, and he, Nora, and their young family moved to Niagara AFB in Niagara Falls, NY where he was a Civil Engineer. Roberto was promoted to Captain, and was stationed at Perrin AFB in Sherman, Texas, as well as Howard AFB in the Panama Canal Zone, where he served two tours. During his assignment in Panama, he traveled to Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia. By this time, he and Nora had 7 children. Roberto ended his service at Lackland AFB and retired a Major.

Roberto was a renaissance man. He was interested in lifelong learning and enjoyed new endeavors. He was a history buff, especially Military History. He loved all genres of music, English and Spanish, and had an extensive collection. Enjoying music from the 1930s and 1940s all the way to current hits, his favorites ranged from Vivaldi to The Buena Vista Social Club. Roberto also learned photography and had his own darkroom where he developed his photos. He learned to garden vegetables, raise honeybees, and took many courses at local community colleges on Air Conditioning, Electricity, and Auto Mechanics. Roberto was also an avid hunter in his younger years. He collected coins and learned to use all of the current technology available to him. Roberto scanned old photographs and kept the files on his desktop computer. He helped produce and maintain a USS Saratoga CV3 newsletter for his former shipmates. He enjoyed using his iPhone and loved surfing the Internet. He had a "man cave" long before they became a rite of passage for all men.

Roberto was adored by many and a friend to all. He lived life to the fullest and will be remembered by all who knew him. He was adored by his family and will be greatly missed by all of us, but especially his wife Nora.

Roberto, you were a strong, courageous man. You were a veteran, a proud American, and a great Husband and Father. You will remain in our hearts forever. Please watch over us and guide us.

A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 am on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 2620 South Congress.

Interment will follow at 2:00 pm at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, Killeen, Texas.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home South

2620 S. Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
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