Carlos S. Pena Jr. ‘Dad’ of Cotulla died on December 2, 2020. He was a lifelong resident of Cotulla, a rancher, schoolteacher, and father. He was born June 19, 1936 to parents Carlos S. Pena Sr. and Clarisa G. “Cala” Pena in his parent’s home in Cotulla.
He 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.
Carlos is survived by his four children Carlos D. “Danny” Pena and 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-grandchildren Sean C. Fournier, Vicky (Shipman), Billie (Keller), Chris Brown, Donna Joe (Keller) and Mark Brown, plus numerous step-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Cleotilde.
Carlos graduated from St. Edward High School in Austin in 1954. Although he spent four years in Austin, he decided to become an Aggie after he met a young cadet sporting senior boots. He 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. Upon hearing of Carlos’ intention to pursue an air force career, his father told him that if he stayed in the air force the family ranch would be sold. He quickly changed his plans and returned to Cotulla where he became a school teacher, principal and lifelong cattle rancher.
When he returned to Cotulla, he and his mother taught the two bilingual first grade classes (across the hall from each other) at the Welhausen School, helping several generations of school children to read, write and speak English. Many of these students went on to graduate from college and become teachers, judges, lawyers, nurses and other professionals.
A life-long rancher and active in the community, he was one of the original founders of the 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; 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. He and Jimmy Barbour were the original film crew for the fighting Cotulla Cowboys and traveled all over South Texas filming the team with Danny and Steve Pena in tow.
Service dates and times are currently pending.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Peters Funeral Home, Cotulla.