BROWNSVILLE, TX. – Commander Luis “Louie” Lucio, 73, entered into eternal rest on Thursday, the 29th of October 2020 surrounded by his loving family. The Commander was born on the 8th of January 1947 to Santana Lucio and Petra Rodriguez in Brownsville, Texas in their home on McKinley Street. He was the youngest of his four siblings – the two oldest twins, his sisters, Toni and Gloria, and his big brother Santana “Tana”, Jr.
Louie attended elementary school at J.T. Canales Elementary, Faulk Junior High, and Brownsville High School. In the evenings he was often found in the fields of J.T. Canales playing football and baseball with his friends.
His siblings recall him as being strong, sweet, upright, protective, loving, and compassionate. They adored him as the “baby of the family”, but also commented with smiles on Louie’s dislike of being “mothered” by his sisters or “protected” by his older brother. He wanted to be brave, protect his family and fight his own fights, and that is exactly who he was and what he did.
Shortly after high school, Louie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton North in San Diego, California. He and his battalion (Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division) made an amphibious landfall in Chu Lai, Vietnam in March 1965 as part of “Operation Double Eagle” where he served his country at war for “one year, one month, and seven days.”
Upon honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Louie returned to Texas where he worked at Dow Jones Chemical Plant in Houston. He eventually missed his hometown and returned to Brownsville where he worked as the Assistant Coach at Faulk Junior High alongside his “primo-hermano” Eddie Lucio, Jr. Together, they coached football, basketball and track and field in 1969 and 1970. He then went on to work with his brother Santana for Texas Beers Group as a salesman before working for Big Three Industries as a route salesman for welding equipment in Brownsville, replacing the position held by his Tio Daniel Lucio who had just retired.
Louie established himself as a successful businessman, owning and running the well-known Resaca Bar on the corner of 14th Street and North 77 Frontage Road for twenty years. His sons have fond memories playing pool in the mornings as their father prepared for the evening ahead by taking inventory, sweeping, stocking the cash register, and polishing the bar. Saturday mornings were for restocking and running errands with his sons, while Sunday mornings were for barbacoa and visiting his beloved mother with his daughters.
In the latter years of his employment prior to retirement, Louie was a skilled truck driver. He would travel from the southern tip of Texas (Brownsville) to both the East and West Coast and alongside the Canadian border in the rain, sleet, and snow. One could ask him routes to certain major cities or even states and he would recite from memory the highways, exit numbers, and mile markers for each leg of the trip.
All throughout his professional career, he worked to provide for his adoring children: Marc, Billy, Veronica, and Sarah from his first marriage. He drove them to school every morning instructing them to “put your thinking caps on” during the ride. He picked them up after school and would drive them straight to Rainbow Bread Store on Old Military Highway where they were allowed to pick up a sweet Danish pastry and a soda each. He raised his children with a love for the beach, spending summers camping out at Boca Chica Beach, and a special love for baseball. Memories were made at West and East Little Leagues where he umpired and coached some of the teams his sons played on.
Before coaching and watching his own sons play ball though, Louie played himself in fast-pitch adult softball leagues as both Shortstop and Pitcher. He became the manager of the locally acclaimed Los Comancheros Fast Pitch Softball Team which won many championships and tournaments both in Texas and Mexico.
Louie married Irma C. Lucio on the 10th of July 2004, beginning a life together that brought him great joy and satisfaction. He started his days by reading The Brownsville Herald in their peaceful home over a cup of coffee and a few “Barras de Coco” cookies. He loved to prepare and serve his wife her first cup of coffee daily, and watched Gunsmoke with her in the afternoons.
Throughout the week Louie would call and would receive Facetime calls from his children and grandchildren, delighting in their latest accomplishments and giving a listening ear. He loved talking baseball and football with his sons while he and his youngest daughter Sarah would call each other during live golf tournaments. Evenings were spent within the screened-in porch where Louie and Irma were entertained by their Yellow Headed Parrot, Rudy, and his ability to sound off, “1, 2, 3, 4 - United States Marine Corps” as well as other phrases and words. Recently, they adopted a miniature Chihuahua who he named, “Chiquita” after his grandmother’s dog.
Together, Louie and Irma served and dedicated their time to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) both locally and throughout the district – Louie in the VFW Honor Guard Funeral Detail and Irma in the Ladies Auxiliary.
He came to be known as “The Commander” through his leadership at VFW Post No. 2035 serving fourteen years as Post Commander and three years as District Commander. Aside from his children and wife, Louie took great pride in serving his fellow veterans.
Over the last two decades, The Commander drove countless veterans to San Antonio’s Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans’ Hospital as well as to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinics in McAllen and Harlingen, Texas - the latter being a clinic he tirelessly advocated for along with other veterans to be established in Cameron County. He never kept a log of the miles and never requested a reimbursement; he did this out of the pureness of his heart.
Louie was always concerned for his fellow veterans, especially foreign war veterans, and was extremely dedicated to connecting them to their well-deserved and hard earned benefits with the VA. He also dedicated time to establish the largest VFW Post in the District where war veterans could come together in Brownsville – a safe place for them to be themselves and share their war stories and traumas with one another.
There, VFW Post No. 2035, became the Center of Command as The Commander and his different Administrations provided assistance to veterans and their families, commemorated standing-room-only national holiday celebrations, visited veterans in nursing homes and hospitals, conducted flag raising ceremonies throughout the Rio Grande Valley, held speaking events at local schools to students, hosted dozens of community fundraisers for sick individuals as well as providing a hall where civic forums, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries were held for the public. All of these services will continue in his absence at VFW Post No. 2035 and are part of The Commander’s legacy of lifelong community service.
What The Commander was most known for was his eloquent speeches giving Military Eulogies and Honors for his fallen comrades which he always recited by memory word for word with heart, conviction and pride at graveside services, in churches, and funeral home chapels. Countless families over the years have approached him, his wife, and his children commenting on their great appreciation of The Commander’s moving soliloquy for their departed loved one. Providing that heart-felt service came naturally to The Commander, who was driven to serve and honor veterans of all ages, wars, and military branches both in life and in death.
Louie was preceded in death by his parents whom he selfless cared for through the end of their lives, Santana Lucio and Petra Rodriguez.
He is survived by his devoted wife, Irma; his sisters, Maria Antonia “Toni” (Idoluis) Casares and Maria Gloria (Agustin) Davila; his brother, Santana Lucio, Jr.; his sons, Marc Anthony (Lizette) Lucio and Billy Joe (Dorissa) Lucio; his daughters “Las reinas de Papi”, Veronica Isabel Lucio and Sarah Marie (Christopher) Cisneros; and by his ten grandchildren: Brittney, Haleigh, Marc II, Vincent, Levi, Eli, Lucas, Maverick, Dolly, and Jett.
He is also survived by his wife Irma’s adult children Carlos (Martha) Tapia, Oscar (Melissa) Tapia, Amadeo (Gracie) Tapia, Irma (Tomas) Ramos, and Yolanda Tapia who are grateful for how happy he made their mother. He was known as “Grandpa Louie” by several of their children and grandchildren: Carlos, Megan, Karina, Nicholas, Vincent, Samantha, Antonio, Tabetha, Jackie, Mia, Tommy, Timmi Sophia, Matthew, Christian, Frankie, Emery, Zachary, and Ariela.
Public Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, the 4th of November 2020 between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. at St. Mary, Mother of the Church, 1914 Barnard Road, Brownsville, Texas 78520. Military honors will be conducted at 6:00 p.m. under the auspices of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2035. The recitation of the holy rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. with State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. officiating.
The family requests all funeral service attendees meet directly at St. Mary, Mother of the Church. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, the 5th of November 2020 at St. Mary, Mother of the Church with Monsignor Bert Diaz officiating. Commander Lucio will be laid to rest at the Rio Grande State Veterans Cemetery at 2520 Inspiration Road in Mission, Texas 78572 following the funeral mass. An escorted procession will depart the church and pass by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2035 before proceeding to Mission, Texas.
Pallbearers for The Commander will be: Marc Anthony Lucio, Billy Joe Lucio, Levi Lucio, Marc Lucio II, Vincent Lucio, Luis Carlos Lucio, Jr., Robert Lucio, Santana Lucio, and Jose Luis Lucio.
Honorary Pallbearers will be: son-in-law Christopher Cisneros; nephews, Samuel “Sammy” Lucio, Fermin Lucio, and Alex Lucio; and his youngest grandsons: Eli, Lucas, Maverick, and Jett.
In lieu of floral arrangements, the family requests donations in memory of Commander Lucio to the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post No. 2035, 1801 Veterans Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78521.
The family of Commander Lucio would like to thank Valley Baptist Medical Center -Brownsville for the excellent and dedicated care he received in his last days. A Special Thanks to Leslie Bingham (CEO), Brandon Mohler (Strategy Director), Andrea del Bosque (Social Services Director), Dr. Schwartz, Dr. Mahdi, Dr. Ortiz, and Registered Nurses Tanya, Monique, Keisha, Marco, Rosie, and Vanessa for their attentive care of both The Commander and his family. The Lucio Family is also very grateful for Elara Caring Hospice Agency for their compassion and professionalism.
Personalized funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home at 945 Palm Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas 78520, (956) 546-7111.
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