Ren Gamboa obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Ren Gamboa

December 31, 1939 - April 27, 2017

Obituary


René Gamboa, a Vietnam veteran raised on San Antonio's West Side, was a man who loved his country, sought little acclaim for himself and took pleasure in doing for others. Born in the border town of Laredo to Juan and Benita Gamboa on Dec. 31, 1939, René grew up in San Antonio in a large family of 13 children. He was 77 when, on April 27, he entered the arms of his loving father and the Lord Jesus Christ.René is survived by his wife, Beatrice, to whom he was married for 25 years. He also...

René Gamboa, a Vietnam veteran raised on San Antonio's West Side, was a man who loved his country, sought little acclaim for himself and took pleasure in doing for others. Born in the border town of Laredo to Juan and Benita Gamboa on Dec. 31, 1939, René grew up in San Antonio in a large family of 13 children. He was 77 when, on April 27, he entered the arms of his loving father and the Lord Jesus Christ.René is survived by his wife, Beatrice, to whom he was married for 25 years. He also is survived by his five children from his first marriage to María; by seven grandchildren and multiple nieces and nephews. His children are Patricia Gamboa, Diana Gamboa, Suzanne Gamboa, Gina (Gamboa) Simmons and Michael Gamboa.He leaves behind his siblings Raul Gamboa, Juan Gamboa Jr., Dolores Blancarte, Agustin Gamboa, Hector Gamboa, Zulema Calderon, and Olivia Flores.He was preceded in death by his mother and father and his sisters Isabel Escobar, Ernestina Tays, Amparo Villaseñor and his brothers Margarito and Oscar Gamboa.René proudly served his country early in the Vietnam War. He was a father to three young children when he was deployed to Vietnam. He was sent to Pleiku as part of a Red Horse unit of combat engineers that fortified the base and built an airstrip that was bombed soon after it was completed.René dedicated 23 years of his life to the Air Force, serving in civil engineering units and working as an electrician. He had also served three years in the Army Reserves before joining the Air Force.While stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base, René helped prepare the hangar and airstrip at the Johnson Ranch, where Lyndon B. Johnson would land on his returns to his Texas home.After "retirement" from active duty, René worked in civil service as an electrical technician, building and rebuilding electronic devices for aircraft and weapons systems.René was a hard worker throughout his life. As a youth, he shined shoes with his brother Agustin, earning a few extra dollars that were turned over to the family. Other times, he worked with his father and brothers on construction jobs. Later, he worked at the Lake Garage on Commerce Street, asking to be hired so that he could learn a trade and working his way from sweeping and cleaning up the garage to repairing cars. René valued education, taking various courses to learn new skills and graduating from the NCO Academy and NCO Leadership School. He was proud to see his five children pursue higher educations and see each develop professional careers. Throughout his life, he could often be found in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper.His three eldest daughters are alive today because of his bravery. René and their mother rescued the girls, who were toddlers at the time, from their trailer home outside Bergstrom AFB after it was hit by a tornado, tossing it on its side and setting its propane tanks on fire while the family was inside. His children also remember him for the many nights on family vacations that he assembled and hoisted a seven-person Coleman tent at a European campground.
Each time, he'd check the ropes to be sure they solidly supported the hotel under the stars that sheltered them while their minds were opened to the world - a privilege they enjoyed, in part, because of his military service. He wasn't an adventure seeker, but René traveled beyond his hometown to Europe, Asia, Mexico, Greece, and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and throughout the U.S. He ventured into the Deep South at a time when the Civil Rights Movement was reaching a boiling point. Despite spending much of his life far from his hometown, René was puro San Antonio. He was a 1960 graduate of Fox Tech Vocational School and cheered for the Spurs. Fishing was a favorite pastime of his as were movies and television comedies. M*A*S*H was one of his favorites.
He liked going to dances as a young man and later enjoyed dancing to cumbias, conjunto and Tejano with his wife Beatrice. But he also enjoyed holding family barbecues and gatherings at his home with Beatrice and her family.He was an avid football fan, devoted to the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns and in his last months of life, he enjoyed attending a game in San Antonio between rivals West Point and Notre Dame.René was a devoted Catholic and Christian. He found a home at Prince of Peace Catholic Church and built close friendships with many of its parishioners. René was known to his neighbors as someone who always wanted to help.His generosity was not grandiose. Instead it often was as simple as sharing flower bulbs from his garden to help brighten a neighbor's lawn or buying extra groceries to stock a family member's shelves.René was loved and left too soon. He will be missed by many. Visitation for René will be at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 14 at Sunset Northwest Memorial Funeral Home, 6321 Bandera Road. The rosary will begin at 7 p.m. at the same location.
Mass for René begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 15, at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 7893 Grissom Road. A reception will follow in the parish hall at the church. René will receive full military honors for his burial. Departure to Fort Sam Houston Cemetery will begin at 1:30 p.m. Burial begins at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Prince of Peace Conference in memory of René Gamboa.

Arrangements under the direction of SUNSET NORTHWEST FUNERAL HOME, San Antonio, TX.