Pedro (Pete) Rivera Ortiz, Sr. passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in Texas City, Texas, surrounded by those who loved him.
Visitation will be 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 12, with a Rosary at 7:00 p.m., at Emken-Linton Funeral Home in Texas City. Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, July 13, at 11:00 a.m., at St. Mary of the Miraculous Medal in Texas City. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery in Dickinson, Texas.
Pete was born on Wednesday, February 23, 1927 in the tiny colonial town of Santa Rosa, Guanajuato, Mexico. He was a loving son, brother, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. He was a favorite uncle known as Tio Perico. He was affectionately known as Grampa by so many of his children and grandchildren's friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Petra Rivera and Jesus Ortiz, his sisters, Sofia Balderas and Angelina Guerrero, his brother, David Alvarez, his loving wife of 65 years, Isabel Velasquez Ortiz, his youngest son Michael, and his beautiful granddaughter Leticia Lynn Ortiz. He was survived briefly by his 97-year-old sister, Maria de Jesus Cantu (Chuy), who sadly passed away Saturday, June 18, 2022. He is survived by many loving nieces and nephews in Mexico and all over the United States.
Left to cherish his memory and share his many stories are his devoted children:
Pete Jr. & Phyllis Ortiz, Becky & Joe Mendez, Sr., Richard Sr. & Trini Ortiz, David Sr. & Donna Ortiz, Rose Mary & Morteza Dehghani, Sr., and Roger & Stacy Ortiz.
His loving Grandchildren:Avery, Rodney and Peter Ortiz, III, Nathan Sr. & Lisa Ortiz, Julie Khoury, Holly Khoury & Andrew Dixon, Erika Bradley, Joe Jr. & Lea Mendez, Richard Jr. & Ramona Ortiz, DeAna Ortiz, Marc & Dana Martinez, Ben & Jenna Reyna, Lori & Rick Posada, Venisha Henderson & Lawrence Jamison, David Jr. & Cara Ortiz, Christina & Brady Bergvall, Sr., Daniel Ortiz, Mori Dehghani, Jr., Mina & Nick Wymore, Nikki & Landon Smith, Samantha Ortiz & Bradley Henderson, and Kaci Ortiz.
His beloved Great-Grandchildren: Nathan Jr. and Valerie Dawn Ortiz, Amanda Ortiz, Caiden Whitacre, Kylie George, Ember Jane Khoury, Caden Gardner, Elianna & Analia Mendez, Treslyn & Tavery Ortiz, Justin, Michael & Alex Martinez, Dante Reyna, Bethany Posada, Kashmeer & Kameron Henderson, Mya Jamison, Brady Jr, Connor, Alec & Alani Bergvall, Rosie Wymore, Indigo Smith, Hayden Ortiz, and Karsyn Henderson. His precious Great-Great-Grandson:Castiel Vince Ortiz.
Pallbears are: Avery Ortiz, Joe Mendez, Jr., Richard Ortiz, Jr., Daniel Ortiz, Mori Dehghani, Jr., Nikki Smith, Nathan Ortiz, Sr., Caden Gardner, Brady Bergvall, Jr., and Connor Bergvall.
Pete was born to local shopkeepers and was a hard worker from an early age. He was always proud of his home state being the cradle of Mexican independence. He grew up during dangerous times in history. He would tell the stories of growing up in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution and the Cristero wars. He never forgot the images he saw with his own eyes.
He began work in the family store at a very young age. By age 14, he was working in the silver mines in Guanajuato. During the 2 years he worked in the mines, he witnessed men dying from mining accidents. His older brother David told him it was too dangerous there and to come with him to Texas. That was about the time the United States had entered WWII, so there was shortage of metal because of the military effort in the US. His brother David planned to go across the border to Texas and sell clothespins and coat hangers. Pete had to get permission from the mine supervisor for a leave of absence because he wanted to make sure he had a job in case he didn't like Texas.
He came to New Gulf, Texas and then to Texas City with his big brother. He lived in a boarding house of Lino Rodriguez, his brother's friend. He proudly became a US citizen and he got a job at the tin smelter making bars of steel to send up north to make bullets for the war effort. He subsequently met the love of his life, Isabel Velasquez. They began a loving life together in Texas City in 1945 when they married. They celebrated 65 years of marriage before her death in 2010.
When the war was over, he was laid off so the soldiers could get work. He was looking for work on the docks the day of the historic Texas City Disaster Explosion. He survived the explosion, but was severely wounded by shrapnel. He recovered from his injuries and went on to help the city rebuild. He served the city of Texas City proudly for 41 years. Retiring in 1989, he worked under the leadership of five mayors. During that time, he also worked a second job for the College of the Mainland, retiring from there after 23 years in 1993. He had a third job co-owning and running a striping business which he shared with Joe Garza, Sr. and later Adolph Jaramillo. He enjoyed a full, hardworking, rewarding and fruitful life. He was a great provider for his family.
He enjoyed going to his favorite restaurants in Texas City knowing his family would be showing up a few at a time. He loved wondering how big a table he would need on a Saturday morning to see how many Ortizes would show up. He commented often on how people would tell him what a loving family he had. A special memory the grandchildren have is the loving relationship between Grama and Grampa. They loved watching their loving banter back and forth. They had a unique and lasting bond. He loved hosting the family gatherings at the home he built with his beautiful wife. He would slip some money to the grandchildren and later the great-grandchildren as they left, telling them, "go buy yourself a hamburger."
He loved traveling with his family. He enjoyed the casino trips and could share some interesting stories. He really loved showing his children and grandchildren the colonial cities in Guanajuato, Mexico where he grew up. He especially loved having adventures with family. A favorite expression of his was "otra aventua" (another adventure). He was famous for his Super Bowl Pots and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren got a kick out of watching him organize them. Pete was a lifelong member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Texas City. He was a proud United States citizen. He was active in the local LULAC organization including serving as LULAC president.
His most active roles were those of being a spectator and guest at countless children's activities. He watched his children play sports when he had time away from his jobs. But his greatest joy in his retirement was watching his grandchildren, and then his great-grandchildren. He attended any and all of the activities throughout the years. He was continuing the legend going to watch his great grandchildren. Children brought him a lot of joy. He was over the moon excited to be able to meet in person his first great-great-grandson Castiel Vince Ortiz. It has been such a blessing to him to be able to watch the grandchildren grow up, have children of their own, and now those great-grandchildren are growing up to be adults; it is such a lasting legacy! What a tremendous privilege to be able to participate in the 5 Generation Photo which he did shortly before his death.
The family would like to send out appreciation to Hospice for all their support. Thank you to the team at Emken-Linton Funeral Home; Y'all made us feel like family. A special Thank you to Margie and Moses Ayala for their loving attention and care this last year. Special loving thanks to Mandy Alvarado these last 3 years; y'all treated him like your own family and we are forever grateful.
By the grace of God, Pete was gifted with a long and healthy life. Over the last 20 plus years he survived Cancer multiple times and was a living example of strength and tenacity.
The family requests in lieu of flowers contributions in memory of Pete Ortiz, Sr. be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486 or www.mdanderson.org/gifts. Please designate gifts to Bladder Cancer Research