Tony Campos (August 21, 1923 – February 16, 2023)
Antonio “Tony” Campos passed away peacefully in his Baytown home on Thursday, February 16, 2023, with his family by his side.
Tony was born August 21, 1923, in Baytown, Texas to Jose Campos and Maria Ramos Campos. As a young boy, he played the drums in his own band, was a member of the marching band, and was a distinguished “Eagle Scout”— Boy Scouts of America’s highest achievement.
He graduated high school in 1943 and was drafted into the U.S. Army shortly after. His date of entry into active service was June 23, 1943, during World War II, and he served until he was discharged on October 29, 1945. He was a Machine Gunner with the 460th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion in combat and a Paratrooper dropped behind enemy lines. Tony was most proud of fighting in The Battle of the Bulge.
In September 1946, he returned home and married Alicia Torres. They were married for 70 years and blessed with four children—Sylvia Lafuente, Michael Campos, Marc Campos, and Aida Garza (Bobby)—as well as nine grandchildren – Rachel Campos Estes (Andy), David Lafuente, Cristina Herrera (Alex), Linda Garza, Enrique Lafuente, Roberto Garza (Morgan), Veronica Garza (David Santos), Rebecca Cuellar (Jorge), Miguel Garza (Alex) and fifteen great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Alicia, in 2017, his son, Michael, in 2013, and his son-in-law Gilbert Lafuente in 1996.
Tony is also preceded in death by his siblings Jesus Campos, Felicitas Bravo, Isabel Lopez, Elvira Delgado, Jesse Campos, Manuel Campos, and Servando Campos.
Tony studied at Baylor University as a member of the Class of 1950. He developed a strong interest in public education and served as a teacher and an administrator. As a Latino, Tony was also passionate about advocating for Latino representation and political participation. 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. 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.
As an adult, Tony 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 held in New York City. Tony was also a member of the Baytown Housing Authority, and he was the Chair of the Senate District 6 Democrats where he organized numerous State Senate Conventions. In 2002, Tony was honored to be one of the first Latino World War II veterans featured in the University of Texas at Austin’s Voces Oral History Center at the Moody College of Communications.
Tony will be remembered for his drive, resilience, and commitment to making change in his community, but he will also be remembered for being a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncle. Tony’s children and grandchildren recall him always being at his wife, Alicia’s, side. They also remember his sense of humor. He loved entertaining his grandchildren, and he followed every conversation with a witty comeback, or an “I’m tellin’ you!”— a catchphrase of his that will live on.
Pallbearers are David Lafuente, Enrique Lafuente, Roberto Garza, Miguel Garza, Dante Deberardino, and Lucas Estes.
A visitation for Tony will be held Sunday, February 26, 2023, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Navarre Funeral Home, 2444 Rollingbrook Drive, Baytown, TX 77521, with a rosary service at 6:30 PM. A funeral mass will occur at 10:30 AM, Monday, February 27, 2023, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1907 Carolina Ave, Baytown, TX 77520. Committal service will follow at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale Street, Houston, TX 77023.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.navarrefuneralhome.com for the Campos family.