Jose “Pepe” Gutierrez, Jr. beloved husband, father, brother, grandpa, great-grandpa, uncle and friend to many, left this world after 97 years and is finally and gloriously reunited with his cherished wife Nena and loving daughters Libby and Elsa.
Born and raised in Laredo, Pepe enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 23 and served honorably in World War II earning a Bronze Star and other commendations while in the Pacific Theater. Upon returning home, Pepe married his sweetheart Irene Gonzalez, and began working at the grocery store business opened by his father and later owned and operated by he and his siblings Gilda, Fidel, Dario, Eduardo and Arturo. Gutierrez Bros. Grocery Stores on Park and Meadow were neighborhood staples for decades and Pepe could be seen 6 days a week open to close behind the glass displays in the meat market on Meadow. It is here where young grandchildren would spend days growing up wanting to spend the day with “huelo” under the guise of “helping” around the store but in reality spending less time stocking shelves and more time eating snacks and candies. Little did we know that he would often give his sister Gilda the money at the end of the day to cover the snacks they enjoyed. His dedication to the business and the community knew no bounds, often driving well after closing delivering groceries to elderly customers at their residences.
As hard as he worked Monday through Saturday, Sundays were always reserved for his wife Nena with whom he spent the day going to church, having lunch at the old Wyatt’s cafeteria at the mall, and shopping in Nuevo Laredo for the fresh produce Nena used that week. It is here while waiting for her to finish shopping that he took time for a haircut and shave, or enjoyed a Tecate at the neighborhood bar. Their Sundays were never complete without visits to family including their children. His grandchildren especially liked these visits because when they left Nena always made sure he always gave their grandchildren a few bucks of allowance. They did this for years until his beloved Nena passed away after 63 years together. Always stoic and unbowed in public, in private he could be heard asking Nena to take him with her. But she knew he was still needed here on earth and that was never more evident until Sept. 2013 when his oldest, Libby, passed away and in Aug. 2015 when Elsa followed. Ever the rock, his family took their cues from him on how to handle immeasurable loss with dignity and grace. He remained strong and active and even drove his car well into his 90’s. He also had an appetite that knew no end. He was often the first to start a meal and the last to finish. And he tried everything placed in front of him. In the end, it was pneumonia and a weakened heart that comes with old age that allowed him to pass and finally see his Nena, Libby and Elsa again. His passing leaves a big void in his family’s life and he will be dearly missed.
Pepe is preceded in death by his wife Irene, his daughters Libby and Elsa, brothers Fidel, Dario, Eduardo, Arturo and sisters Gilda and Eliza.
He is survived by son, Jose (Rosa) Gutierrez, III, Sisters Eva Rodriguez and Concha Covarrubias. Also surviving him are grandchildren Lisa (Alfredo) Moran, Roberto (Wanda) Palacios Jr, Jose (Tamekia) Gutierrez IV, Cristy (AB) Barrera, Cory (Rafael) Gonzalez, Gaby (Mike) Idrogo, Claudia (Roberto) Espinoza, Cathy Gutierrez, J.J. Gutierrez, 14 great-grandchildren and sons-in-law Raymundo Davila and Roberto Palacios Sr. Special thanks to his caretakers Lupita and Gloria for always being vigilant, caring and constant companions.
A rosary will be recited on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 in the Hillside Funeral Home Chapel. The time for the rosary is pending. For more information on time, please call 956-724-6060. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. from Hillside Funeral Home to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. A mass will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m.
Interment will follow at the City of Laredo Cemetery.
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 Rd.