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Carlos Pena Jr. '58 December 7, 2020 9:01 AM updated: December 7, 2020 11:20 AM

Carlos S. Pena, Jr.
June 19, 1936 - December 2, 2020

Carlos S. Pena, Jr. (“Dad”) of Cotulla Passed away December 2, 2020 after his last roundup. Dad was a lifelong resident of Cotulla, a rancher, schoolteacher, and a devoted father. He was born June 19, 1936 in his parent’s home at 106 Johnston St., in Cotulla – on what was surely a hot summer day.

Dad is survived by his four (4) children Carlos D. “Danny” Pena & wife Debbie; Steven M. “Steve” Pena, Sr. and wife Claudia; Kathleen M. Pena-Witten and husband Will’ and Thomas A. “Tom” Pena. Grandchildren: Lauren M. Ory (“Daniel”), Arianna M. Newman (“Ryan”), Steven M. Pena Jr., Cole D. Pena, Ashlen M. Pena, Karina Pena, Celissa Pena, Gunner T. Witten; Great Grandson Ronan Clyde Newman; Step grand kids: Sean C. Fournier, Vicky (Shipman), Billie (“Keller”), Chris Brown, Donna Joe (“Keller”) & Mark Brown; plus, numerous step great grand kids. He was preceded in death by his sister Cleotilde, parents Carlos S. Pena, Sr., and Clarisa G. “Cala” Pena.

Dad graduated from St. Edward High School in Austin, Texas in 1954. Although he spent four (4) years in Austin, he decided to become an Aggie after he met a young cadet sporting senior boots. Dad enrolled at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (“TAMC”) in 1954 and graduated with a degree in Agricultural Education in 1958. While at TAMC he was a member of Squadron Four and was company executive officer his senior year. After graduation he was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant and was accepted to air force flight school. As the story goes, upon hearing of Dad’s intention to pursue an air force career; grand dad told him that if he stayed in the air force the family ranch would be sold. Dad quickly changed his plans and returned to Cotulla where he became a schoolteacher, principal and lifelong cattle rancher.

When he returned to Cotulla, Dad and mother Clarisa taught the two (2) bi-lingual first grade classes (across the hall from each other) at Welhausen School. Because of their work, several generations of school children were taught to read, write and speak English. Many of these students went on to graduate from college and become teacher, judges, lawyers, nurses and other professionals.

Dad spent his life ranching and participating in the local community. He was one of the original founders of Los Cazadores big buck contest; was an active participant at the annual Wild Hog Cook-Off; member of the CISD school board; member of the Selective Service Board (the draft board); La Salle County Appraisal District review board; school principal; owner of the Country Liquor Store; longtime member of the USDA Farm Services Agency agricultural stabilization board; American Legion; La Salle County Farm Bureau; La Salle County Young Farmers; Cotulla Lions Club; La Salle County Jaycees; Knights of Columbus, Sacred Heart Church lector, usher; Director of the Cotulla Little League and Little League Coach., Dad and Jimmy Barbour were the original film crew for the fighting Cotulla Cowboys and traveled all over South Texas filming the team with a very young Danny and Steve Pena in tow. He was a long-suffering Dallas Cowboys fan and loved (we don’t know why) the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dad was preceded in death by his close friends: Deonicio “Nicho” Ramirez, Sr., Chris Hinojosa, III., Juan Jose “Sonny” Segovia, Lupe Vela Sr., Roberto Ayala Sr., Pat Niaves Sr., and others too numerous to mention. Above all Dad was a man of god and a “Fightin Texas Aggie” – till his dying breath. The first thing he put on in the morning and last thing he took off his hand at night was his Aggie senior ring. He joins his deceased friends and his Aggie classmates in heaven who will surely greet him with: “Howdy Ag.” – welcome home.

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