Happy Birthday today to my niece and goddaughter Rachel Campos Estes! Rachel has been an outstanding granddaughter to my Dad. Happy Birthday, Rachel!
My nephew David spoke yesterday after the funeral mass for my Dad and his grandfather. Here is what David said:
Hello, my name is David Lafuente. On Behalf of my Family, I want to say thank you to everyone for being here today to celebrate the life of Tony Campos. I am the oldest grandson, and I am honored to talk about his life and share a few words about our beloved grandpa.
What an amazing person he was. You know Talking to family and friends of grandpa the last couple of days, I’ve come to a more appreciation and understanding of how great a person he really was. The things he accomplished and witnessed are enough for 2 or 3 lifetimes, and to do it under some extreme circumstances is amazing. Like what was said last night, he was a public servant. He served his country, his community, his city and his family.
Over his lifetime, his roles were many. He was first the son, to Jose and Maria Ramos Campos who came over from the Mexico state of Zacatecas. My grandpa was born August 21, 1923, right here in Baytown, Texas. He was a brother, and preceded in death by his 7 siblings Jesus Campos, Felicitas Bravo, Isabel Lopez, Elvira Delgado, Jesse Campos, Manuel Campos, and Servando Campos
He was a loving husband to my grandma, Alicia Campos, who passed away a little over 5 Years and 8 months ago. He was a father to 2 daughters Sylvia and Aida and 2 sons Michael and Marc, a grandpa to 9 (Rachel, me, Cristina, Linda, Enrique, Roberto, Veronica, Becky and Miguel) and a great grandfather to 15 beautiful grandchildren. He was a cousin, an uncle, a godfather, but above all else he was a friend to so many different types of people, whether you knew him for a few minutes or for decades he touched so many lives and was adored by all.
Music was a big part of his life. As a young boy, he played the drums in his own band, he was a member of the marching band and in high school he played USO dances with his 14-member, Hispanic jazz band. He loved to dance and listen to music, English but mostly Spanish music. And you can’t think about grandpa without remembering all the times he would sing along to music harmonizing and belting out lyrics singing along with Mariachi music even as of last year at his 99th birthday party.
Grandpa went to De Zavala elementary school, Baytown Junior High and then graduated from Robert E Lee High School.
Just 22 days after his graduation from High School, Uncle Sam called upon him to join the U.S. Army. He entered as part of the 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, training at jump school at Camp Mackall, North Carolina
Like many brave men, he fought courageously during World War II. His first jump as a paratrooper was across enemy lines in southern part of France in August of 1944. Unlike half his battalion, he survived that jump and eventually would fight in 5 major battles, defending our great country. What kept him going throughout it all was his love for grandma. They would send each other love letters and pictures….and if you’ve seen some of the pictures of my grandma when she was younger…well she was so beautiful…no wonder grandpa was trying to get back home to her.
Grandpa was most proud of fighting in The Battle of the Bulge. He didn’t talk a lot about the tragedy of the war, but in a recent interview he did, he mentioned numerous times how cold it was during his time in Belgium and how he had to keep dancing and moving around just to stay warm.
In August of 1945 he returned home to grandma and eventually they were married and stayed married for 70 years and were literally never apart.
They moved to Waco while my grandpa attended Baylor University and had their first child, my mom, Sylvia! He eventually graduated in 1950. After college, he was employed by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Working for the agency, he helped ensure that farmers who contracted labor from Mexico, were fulfilling medical, housing and payment requirements. His goal was to make sure the migrant workers weren’t discriminated against.
In 1957, he played a key role in organizing the Little School of 400, a LULAC project that sought to teach Spanish-dominant speaking children a vocabulary of 400 basic-English words before preschool. He was commissioned to find a means to prepare young Latinos for success. After implementing this vocabulary list, teachers saw tremendous improvement in Hispanic children’s academic performance. The program was so successful over the years that it later became the Head Start Program to help those who were in poverty.
On November 21, 1963, President John F Kennedy gave remarks at a LULAC Dinner in Houston at the Rice Hotel. My grandpa was there at that dinner. JFK’s short speech recognized what the LULAC association was doing, emphasized the importance of developing young people’s talents through education. And how equality of opportunity was vital. Unfortunately, we know what happened the next day as the president was assassinated. But I want to think that those remarks from JFK helped inspire my grandpa even more.
Grandpa not only saw the inequality for Latinos in education but also in the political system. With the Hispanic population in Baytown growing, there was no Latino elected in government to represent them. He ran for mayor and city council and though he lost he continued to fight and in 1987, he filed and won a voting rights lawsuit against the City of Baytown that resulted in a single-member district form of governance, for the Baytown City Council.
Grandpa was passionate about advocating for Latino representation and political participation. Once the charter was changed, Latinos quickly ascended to political offices in local elections. Great job grandpa!
Grandpa worked tirelessly on numerous get-out-the-vote efforts for political candidates, and in 1992, he was a National Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. There’s a picture I saw recently of my grandpa meeting President Bill Clinton, my grandma and parents were there. I remember how he was so proud of the Christmas cards and recognition he got from elected officials over the years. He would have been so happy knowing that he received the proclamations from the State Senate and House of representatives yesterday. One of the reasons for that was that Grandpa was also the Chair of the Senate District 6 Democrats, where he organized numerous State Senate Conventions. This was around the time that Rachel and I started going to some of these conventions with grandma and grandpa. They were always fun and educational. Anyone that I would meet that was from Houston, specifically the district, I would name drop and tell them my grandpa was Tony Campos. They would immediately prop up and say, “Your grandfather is a good man, tell him I said hi”. He was so respected, and everyone knew him. I thought it was so cool.
Grandpa drove everywhere, back and forth from Baytown to my uncle’s house where they had the business Campos Communications. I worked for my uncle in high school and got to see my grandpa and grandma all the time when they would be there at his desk in the back office. He was always busy with work and family. It was nonstop! Everyone that worked for Campos Communications over the years knew and loved visiting with my grandparents and listening to all the stories and grandpas one liners.
For most of the events that took place in grandpas’ life you can’t think of grandpa without grandma. She was always by his side.
They enjoyed traveling with many visits to see family in Mexico, I was lucky to get to go on some of those trips when I was younger…I was around 10 or 11 years old…we would leave Houston and drive to Laredo and spend the night at my Aunt Aida’s house. We’d wake up early the next morning and head into Mexico… There were no Smart phones, No GPS, no electronics. Just a map and the road. But we felt so safe because Grandma and grandpa had done the trip so many times with so many family members throughout their lifetimes and they were there to take care of us along the way.
So many Christmases spent at my grandma and grandpas house, so many holidays from Easter egg hunts, Thanksgivings, Mother’s Day, birthday parties, the famous New Year’s Eve parties, Wedding Receptions and even a political fundraiser or two.
Like my cousin Rachel said last night, my grandpa’s house was always the place we felt the most at home. So much time we spent there watching tv, playing games inside and out, hanging out with our cousins the Walmsleys and Lara’s listening to grandpa’s stories and eating grandma’s food.
Speaking of my grandma…Hands down, my grandma, the best cook there ever was. Her food is legendary…. Everything she cooked up was so good.
Her freshly made tortillas and her famous cheese sauce. And so many desserts. So, my question is…How did grandpa stay so slim with all the good food that grandma cooked? I think the key was that he finished all his food, cleaned his plate, but I never really saw him going for seconds, he never overate, and you never really saw him snack. He did however love his beer. Anytime you came over or there was an event, grandpa had an ice-cold beer. He also loved tequila. And giving toast. Sometimes if he hadn’t seen you in a long time and you showed up at his house for an event, he would pull you to the side and ask you to do a shot with you. I’m pretty sure its in the high thousands when he asked me to get a “Cold One” out of the fridge for him.
He had a great sense of humor. He loved entertaining his grandchildren, and he followed every conversation with a witty comeback, or an “I’m tellin’ you!”—
When we were in Mazatlán Mexico when I was 10 or 11, him and I were at the beach, I came back to our beach chairs, and I couldn’t find my glasses. He told me that a dolphin took it and swam away with them. He laughed. I didn’t. But he was always cracking jokes and in good spirits.
Grandpa was 99 years old when he died! 1 week and 6 months until 100. He lived a good long life. The last few years health wise weren’t all that great but before I finish, I want to replicate what my cousin Rachel said last night and say thanks to a few family members that took care of him along the way.
First to his youngest daughter my Aunt Aida, You and Bobby have a lot going on with a widely successful business and very large family to look after. Thank you for coming in town and seeing grandpa, checking in on him and for the financial support. Your generosity is hugely appreciated. We all love you.
To my sister Cristina, for always showing up and being with grandpa and having events at your house and keeping me and Ric and Jackson updated on what’s going on with Grandpa. Thank you so much for all your love!
To Rachel, or as my mom would call her Nurse Rachel. Thank you for helping to take care of grandpa. For all the great events you had and organized at your house or the 99th birthday party last year. Thanks for Always brining all of us together and bringing your kids to see Grandpa. For all the pictures and videos, you took and collected. thanks for your big heart and your endless love.
To My mom, or as I would say Mother Sylvia. Thank you for giving up so much of your time to both Grandpa and grandma. You moved in with them and took care of them daily. Thanks for always keeping everyone updated with text and phone calls on what’s going on with grandpa. For driving him to all the parties and events and for also taking him on all the beach trips. Including the last one we went on a few years ago to Costa Rica, it was so much fun. It was me, my grandpa and my mom. Grandpa could walk, but Since he had a walker that converted into a wheelchair, we pushed him through the airport and literally got to avoid about an hour wait in line when going through customs and went straight to the front. It was awesome.
And Thank You to Uncle Marc, he did all the behind-the-scenes dirty work. Thank you for taking grandpa to all his doctor’s appointments, for helping grandpa vote, for keeping him in line and basically being there for grandpa the way you did it. We all Thank You and appreciate you and love you for all you do.
And Thank You Grandpa
Thank you for parking your car in the outfield and going to all of Dante’s little league baseball games, for going to my track meets and football games.
Thank you for being there at all our school events and graduations from middle school to high school and college.
Thank you for taking us on all those trips, including Laredo and then to Mexico to see family in Zacapu over all those years.
Thank you for all the Fives, Tens and Twenty dollar bills you would hand us on the side. I know grandma was a big part of it, but you got a lot of the credit as well
Thank you for your service in the military, for fighting against the Nazis, and protecting our country.
Thank you for all your help in campaigning and hard work in getting good people elected. You’re not only an inspiration but also set a good example to us all.
One of the things a few years back at someone’s funeral, I can’t remember who’s it was, but grandpa said that when he dies that he wants us to be happy, that he wants the family to stick together and that he wants us to remember him and for it to be a celebration. He also said that he wanted to have his casket filled with ICE and full of beer and that everyone grabs a “Cold one” on the way out. I’m not sure that’s exactly going to happen, but we will toast you and say that you will never be forgotten and that you will be in our hearts and minds forever. Cheers to you Tony Campos! We love you and we miss you! Give grandma a big kiss and hug from all of us! Thank You!
At the end of his remarks, David toasted my Dad and his Grandpa by taking a swig of booze out of a flask. Nice job, David. Thanks.
Baytown Mayor Brandon Capetillo attended yesterday’s funeral mass.
If the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office had sent 3,000 voter registration cards to a Chinese organized crime group that targeted Asian Texans, Texas GOPers would be going nuts and filing new takeover bills. Nope. Not at DPS.
The team sent me this yesterday:
Earlier today, MLB announced a partnership with SeatGeek, naming them the official Fan-to-Fan ticket marketplace of the MLB for the 2023 season! SeatGeek is actively building an integration that will allow Season Ticket Holders to list tickets for resale directly through their MyTickets account and the MLB Ballpark app and will automatically send tickets to purchasers or recipients.
I guess StubHub is out. They could not handle MLB’s greedy ways.