Manuel R. Nunez passed away on Tuesday, April 2, 2014 at the age of 94 in the same house where he was born in Fort Stockton, Texas. He worked with the CC Camps at the Indian Lodge and the Big Bend National Park Lodge during his teenage years. He served in the United States Army, rising to the rank of staff sergeant, at Camp White, Medford, Oregon, where he trained troops that were bound to the Pacific front during WWII. Upon discharge from the Army, he attended San Antonio Technical College where he obtained a degree and became an electrician. He returned to his hometown in 1948 and formed a baseball team of former WWII veterans, calling themselves, Los Veteranos. Through the years he fought to desegregate the local schools, encouraged people to pay their poll tax, while it was in existence, and subsequently, to register to vote. He has been a member of the American GI Forum for 65 years, a lifelong member of St. Josephs Church, the American Legion, and the American Cancer Society. He also helped to bring Community Action to Fort Stockton, hosted Vista workers during the 1960s, and served as the chairman for the Bien Vecino Board of Directors. He served as a Boy Scout Troop Leader, was a member of the PTA, and Holy Name Society Board of Directors. He served on the Board of the Permian Basin Food Bank and ran the Catholic Charities as a volunteer for 16 years. Additionally, he served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was second vicepresident of the executive board. In 1980, he was recognized as St. Josephs Person of the Year. In 1986, the Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce named Mr. Nunez its Outstanding Citizen for his commitment to the community. The following quote is from a resolution from the Texas House of Representatives and Senate, WHEREAS, Manuel R. Nunez has devoted much of his life to assisting and serving the residents of Fort Stockton, his remarkable dedication will be rewarded on February 15, 1997, when St. Joseph Park is renamed in his honor. His last major project was the restoration of the St. Josephs Convent, which houses the offices for the parish. He devoted many years and many tireless hours to this project and secured the volunteer services of construction workers, roofers, electricians, painters, plumbers and others. All the restoration was accomplished with volunteers and small fundraisers held by the local restoration committee.
Mr. Nunez is survived by his wife of 70 years, Mary Nunez daughter, Jo Ann Thomas of San Diego, California grandson, Scott Thomas of Marina, California.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Encarnacion and Margarita Nunez sisters, Teckla Godina, Juliana Mesa, Cruz Arcides, Gregoria Gonzales, Delfin A. Galindo, and brothers, Cipriano Nunez, Jose Nunez, and Cosme Nunez.
A visitation will take place at Heritage Funeral Home Friday, April 4, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. with rosary starting at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at Saint Joseph Catholic Church Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. with burial following at Fort Stockton Catholic Cemetery. Remembrances and condolences may be shared at www.heritagefuneralhomeofthebigbend.com