Fernando S. Vela Mr. Fernando S. Vela, beloved son, brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and decorated World War II Veteran passed away peacefully Sunday, January 13, 2013. Mr. Vela was born July 25, 1924 in San Ignacio, Texas. After graduating from Martin High School in 1944, at the height of World War II, he immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed overseas. He was assigned to 3rd Army, 317 Infantry Regiment, 88th Division, Company F under General George S. Patton, Jr. He landed on the beaches of Normandy one day after D-Day. His job was to walk along side of the tanks to ensure the road was clear of land mines. He served in France, Germany, and Belgium. While in France he participated in the Ardennes offensive, better known as the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Vela was awarded a Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal. Completing his enlistment, Mr. Vela returned and married his sweetheart, Herlinda Gutierrez, in Zapata, Texas. They moved to Laredo, Texas where Mr. Vela started his career with U.S. Civil Services as the Selective Service Regional Director. He retired after 30 years of loyal service. He is preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Herlinda G. Vela; his son, Eduardo X. Vela; parents, Agapito Vela and Luisa Chapa Vela; parents-in-law, Benigno and Emilia Flores Gutierrez; brothers, Teofilo Vela and Manuel (Teresa) Vela; sisters, Josefa Vela (Luis) Leal, Cidelia (Lauro) Vela Garza; his brothers-in-law, Benigno (Josefa) Gutierrez, Roberto (Maria Luisa) Gutierrez, Raul (San Juanita) Gutierrez, Israel (Dora) Gutierrez, Cesar (Eva) Gutierrez, Armando Gutierrez, Ricardo Gutierrez, Mauro Gutierrez, Maurillo Gutierrez; and his sister-in-law, Elodia Gutierrez. He is survived by his children, Fernando S. Jr. (Hilda) Vela of San Antonio and Leticia (Felipe) Martinez of Laredo, Texas; daughter-in-law, Martha C. Vela; grandchildren, Rebecca (Joe R.) Gonzalez, Lisa Vela, Eduardo Vela Jr., David Vela, Krystel Vela, Felipe Jr. (Sara) Martinez, Fernando Martinez, and Melissa Martinez; great-grandchildren, Roberto and Ricardo Gonzalez, Felipe Martinez III and Alexander Martinez; sisters-in-law, Antonia Vela and Graciela Gutierrez. A rosary will be recited on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 7 p.m. in the Hillside Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be private for immediate family only. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Eduardo X. Vela Memorial Scholarship, c/o Ms. Millie Slaughter, LCC Box 150, West End Washington Street, Laredo, Texas, 78040. The family wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Milton Haber and his dedicated staff and to all of his caregivers at Laredo Specialty Hospital. If you would like to sign the guestbook or send private condolences, you may do so at www.hillsidefuneral.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Hillside Funeral Home, 310 Hillside Road.