Fernando Velez-Rivera

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Fernando Velez-Rivera, 96, of Webster passed away on Thursday, September 28, 2017. Fernando was born in Bayamón Puerto Rico on June 8, 1921. He was the second of four brothers and a sister who died. At age 16 and a half, he left high school to enlist in the United States Army. The economic situation was precarious and he saw the opportunity to help his mother who was alone with four brothers. He fought in World War II and in Korea and trained as a flyweight boxer in Panama. He remained undefeated until he was knocked out by a Cuban, he told us. Returning from Panama to Puerto Rico, he put his eyes on Candida Alvarez, who lived in Barrio Dájaos. She was a member of the Disciples of Christ church in Barrio Naranjito where her brother, Rev. Carmelo Álvarez Pérez was the pastor. Fernando’s aunt was a missionary and was the Celestine (or responsible) for this courtship. They married on June 7, 1952. Their mother, Dona Basilia Rivera was very ill with cancer. She died in the arms of Candida accepting the Lord before dying.

Aimee Yolanda Vélez Álvarez was born a year later in April 1953. Military life took the family to Germany and then to the United States. In 1964 they left Washington State for Puerto Rico. Fernando retired from military service. The Lord granted him and Cándida the desired son, Marco Antonio Vélez who was born in September 1967. Marco Antonio gave them three grandchildren: Taniushka Marie, Marcos Yafet and also Pablo Emmanuel Calderón, stepbrother.

Fernando always had a strong and determined character. Many times he took justice into his own hands which brought him trouble while in the army. For example, he posed as another companion surname Vélez. He took his place so that the other could visit his sick mother. He did not hesitate to do what was necessary to help the needy. His desire was always to serve. However, it was difficult for him to accept help. He was very gentlemanly, very attentive and affectionate with his wife; helping in the chores and even cooking. He advised his son Marco and his grandchildren to always love their spouses. He taught his children to do things right or not at all and not to be afraid of any type of work. Being a sergeant, he inspected our housekeeping duties to ensure they were done well.

Besides being strict and straight he had a good sense of humor; he came up with unique things that made us laugh, but at the same time left you wondering about it. Many times he was a clown and sometimes a philosopher. His long life and his experiences allowed him all that. His military anecdotes were very interesting and we all enjoyed them. Some were heroic and some were crude realities of the war. He knew the Gospel from childhood and was baptized young in the same church of Candida. His life in the army hardened his spirit a little, but the years beside his wife so dedicated to the Lord brought him back to the feet of his Master. He used every moment to speak of the Lord and his experiences to all whom he could. We know that we will see him again with his beautiful smile in the heavenly mansions. Fernando Vélez you will always be in our heart!

Friends are cordially invited to attend a visitation with the family on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 from 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at Jeter Memorial Funeral Home, 311 N. Friendswood Drive, Friendswood, TX 77546, (281) 992-7200.

A funeral service will be held at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at Jeter Memorial Funeral Home, with Pastor Reinaldo Segura officiating. Interment will follow at 12:30 P.M. at Houston National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77038.

Condolences may be sent to the Velez family in care of Jeter Funeral Home at www.jeterfuneralhome.com.

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