Cover photo for Hector Antonio Saldaña's Obituary
Hector Antonio Saldaña Profile Photo
1926 Hector 2017

Hector Antonio Saldaña

June 30, 1926 — August 20, 2017

Hector Antonio Saldaña, 91, passed away peacefully early Sunday morning, August 20, 2017 in San Antonio, surrounded by his loving family. In his life, he was a cattle rancher, horseman, finance manager, U.S. Navy man, star high school athlete, record producer, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather. The second generation Texan was born on July 30, 1926 in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He was the second youngest of nine children. Saldaña grew up in Laredo. He played high school basketball at St. Joseph’s Academy where he was a star forward on the team and wore No. 28. He was drafted in 1944 and served as a radio operator on naval planes during World War II and the Korean War. After World War II, he attended Texas A&M University where he received a business degree in dairy manufacturing. He worked briefly as a dairyman, as well as for U.S. Customs. In 1954, he began his long career at Great Western Finance Company. In 1956, he married Hilda Galindo, the love of his life and caregiver at the end of his life. They lived in Houston and Corpus Christi where they raised five children, later settling in San Antonio in 1968. With his brother, Francisco, and sister, Irene, he was a part of a cattle and grass-planting operation in Zapata County, which transformed the El Peyote Ranch, beginning in the 1950s to the present. Saldaña indulged his children, encouraging them in their dreams and all-important education. He loved listening to the music of Eydie Gorme & Los Panchos, Herb Alpert and Ace Cannon. He was an excellent swimmer, enjoyed playing pool, a good cookout and visiting with his siblings, nieces and nephews and sharing stories and laughs and discussing ranch business. Saldaña was a cancer survivor and retired in the mid-1980s to ranch full-time in Cotulla, Zapata and the Laredo area where he lived for more than 20 years. He returned to San Antonio in 2010 after a second divorce to deal with health concerns and to enjoy life as a grandfather and great-grandfather. In his final years, he traveled to West Point and to New Orleans and spent every Christmas at the family ranch. One of his happiest moments was traveling to El Peyote Ranch on Easter Sunday for the 100-year anniversary in 2016. He had a beautiful smile, a wonderful laugh and a generous spirit. And as always, Hector Saldaña looked great in a cowboy hat. He is preceded in death by his parents, Miguel S. Saldaña and Antonia Garcia Treviño; siblings, Ernestina S. (Francisco J. “Paco”) Flores, Miguel J. Saldaña, Oscar M. (Enriqueta) Saldaña, Francisco J. Saldaña, Irene Saldaña, Graciela S. (Jesse G.) Hernandez, Juan A. (Blasita) Saldaña, and Manuel Ramiro Saldaña; and grandson, Christopher Molnar. He is survived by his children, Hector Saldaña, Jr., David Saldaña (Deborah), Cynthia Cuellar (Edward), Anna Saldaña Ford (Thomas Molnar), Sara Gonzalez (Daniel); former spouse and caregiver, Hilda Guerrero; sisters-in-law Josefina P. Saldaña and Naomi B. Saldaña; grandchildren Jason Saldaña, Jonathan Hicks, Nicholas Saldaña, Matthew Smith, Joseph Cuellar, Stephen Cuellar, Natalie Balusek, David Ford, Rachel Hoffmeyer, Sarah Cuellar, Michael Gonzalez, Spencer Saldaña, Vincent Saldaña, Daniel Gonzalez, Jonathan Molnar, Paul Cuellar, Andrew Molnar and Antonio Saldaña; great grandchildren: Daryn Hicks, Gavin Hicks, Francisco Saldaña, Jaxon Hicks, and Travis Hoffmeyer. Mr. Saldaña is also survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Visitation will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the Rosary to follow at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 350 Sutton Drive, San Antonio. Visitation will conclude after rosary. Mass will celebrated Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church. Interment will follow at San Fernando Cemetery No. 3.
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