FRANCISCO I. PEÑA, M.D.
January 04, 1936 – November 14, 2020
Dr. Francisco I. Peña, 84, was welcomed into our Lord’s heavenly kingdom on Saturday, November 14, 2020.
Dr. Francisco I. Peña devoted his life to servitude of family and community. He was a loving husband, father, philosopher, counselor, teacher, doctor, and servant to our Lord Jesus Christ and his sheep. His driving force was always to see how he could serve others with advice, caring, medical expertise and monetary sharing. For him to serve was caring and it brought him great joy to do that and beyond. He worked hard to encourage others to find their talents and use them to reach for their dreams. “Con Ganas si se puede.”
Born in Monterrey, Mexico on January 4, 1936 his family moved to Laredo, Texas. His father, Francisco Peña and mother Maria Martinez Peña and siblings Anthony and Inez started and rooted their humble lives in Laredo. He aspired to always seek and learn all he could. He would read like there was no end to books and passages. He attended St. Joseph’s Academy where he later went to the seminary for several years. He returned and graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in the top of his class. He enlisted in the US Army during the Korean Conflict in 1954 and was honorably discharged in 1957, receiving the National Defense Service and Good Conduct Medals. He then used his G.I. Bill to continue his education. He received his B.S. in Biology from Texas A&I University in Kingsville, his Master’s degree in biology and chemistry from the University of South Dakota, his Masters in Psychology and Counseling from the University of A&I in Kingsville and later in life at the age of 37 went to pursue his lifelong dream of studying medicine and graduated from La Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico in the top of his class with honors. He soon passed his boards in the United States as well as being board certified in family medicine.
Dr. Peña married his lovely wife Maria Luisa Cantu Peña in 1958 and together they raised four children; Francisco I. Peña Jr., Michael Anthony Peña, John Gabriel Peña, and Monica Luis Peña-Ramirez. Together they encouraged each of their children to reach for the stars. Education is key to success, have a vision, work hard, have courage and faith and you can accomplish your dreams. Dr. Peña wore many hats during his life. He started as a teacher at Lamar Middle School and then Martin High School before starting at the collegiate level at Laredo Junior College, where taught Biology. He worked for the Social Security Administration and later with the Department of Defense as a guidance counselor at the old Laredo Air Force Base. At the closure of the base, he went on to pursue his career in medicine.Dr. Peña returned to Laredo and set up his practice, Family Clinic, in 1983 and served and delivered Laredoan’s for over 35 years in his family practice. Yet, his practice was not enough, he found a need to help patients that were mentally challenged by operating La Nueva Hacienda. He opened La Epoca de Oro Adult Daycare in Rio Bravo to service the elderly. He also found the need to help patients with addictive drug disorders. He worked to bring out the talents that each of these groups had and have them feel the joy of accomplishment. This brought Dr. Peña great joy. He felt everyone deserved a chance in life’s successes. He felt so strong about this that he ran and won the race for mayor in Rio Bravo, Texas hoping to make a difference to its citizens in medical services and education, offering the opportunity to improve their quality of life..
Dr. Peña received numerous recognitions for his services during his lifetime, too many to mention, but the most recent accolade was receiving LULAC’s 2014 Tejano Achiever award as a medical professional/businessman and most treasured having served as the Chief of Staff at Laredo Medical Center at the end of his career. Dr. Peña would always say: “sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy sanas mañana.” In other words, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel or journey. Find that light so that you can heal or succeed. Dr. Peña has now found the eternal light of Christ.
He still had many dreams and visions for a better Laredo; Dr. Peña is and will be greatly missed by his family, extended family, friends and patients.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Francisco and Maria Peña; and siblings, Inez Doncaster and Juan Francisco Peña.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 63 years of marriage, Maria Luisa C. Peña; beloved sons and daughter, Francisco I. (Ana Maria R.) Peña, Jr., Michael Anthony (Elizabeth Gutierrez) Peña, John Gabriel (Martha Moreno) Peña, and Monica Luisa (Robert Richard) Ramirez; and adored grandchildren, Francisco I. (Jennifer Ward) Peña, III, Ana Monique Peña, John Edward Peña, Michael A. (Terry Norton-Peña) Peña, Jr., Richard T. Peña, John Michael Peña, Robert (Jessica Villarreal) Ramirez Jr., Franchesca P. (Cesar Esquivel) Ramirez, Mia I. Ramirez, and Julian Ramirez. He is further survived by his brother, Anthony Peña; niece and nephews: Thomas Doncaster, Alfonso Peña and Maria Guadalupe Doncaster, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other loved relatives, and friends.
The family would like to extend their most sincere gratitude to: Dr. Carlos Cigarroa, for your medical attention and care as well as for going above and beyond your call of duty, Dr. Ricardo Cigarroa, for your kind words in remembrance of our beloved Francisco. We thank Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen and its nurses, physicians and staff for the care and attention given to him during this past month. To Dr. Victor Treviño, for your condolences and words of servitude. Dr. Enrique Garcia, Dr. Oscar Benavides and all ACTS Brothers and Sisters for your condolences and prayers. To his Laredo Medical Center and Doctors Hospital family for all your kind words and caring. To the entire medical community of Laredo including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and staffs for your condolences, compassion, love and understanding during this difficult time. The family would also like to thank all of Dr. Peña’s office clinic staff and especially a thank you to Maria Palacios for always being there for mom and dad, Chela Gama for always calling to see how they were/are doing, Josie Baldenegro for your special meals to mom and dad, and to Michelle Romani for your assistance in Dr. Peña’s office and clerical duties and your family support. Lastly, our most heartfelt gratitude to Most Rev. Bishop James A. Tamayo, the Diocese of Laredo in its entirety for their prayers, "si tu vales, home est. Ego valeo." Muchos abrazos a todos!
The family will be receiving condolences on Tuesday evening, November 24, 2020 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapels & Cremation Services, 1410 Jacaman Rd.; where a Vigil for the Deceased and Rosary will commence at 7 p.m.
Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday morning, November 25, 2020 departing at 8:30 a.m. from Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapels to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church for a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:00 a.m.
Rite of Committal and Interment will follow at the family plot of the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be: Francisco I. Peña, Jr, Michael A. Peña, Sr., John M. Peña, John E. Peña, Francisco I. Peña, III, Robert R. Ramirez, Jr., Julian Ramirez, and Robert Richard Ramirez, Sr.
Honorary Pallbearers will be: John G. Peña, Michael A. Peña, Jr., Richard Peña, Alfonso Peña, Anthony Peña, Cesar Peña, Javier “JR” Rodriguez, Hair Hernandez and Hector Arriaga.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care and direction of the funeral service professionals at Joe Jackson North Funeral Chapels & Cremation Services, 1410 Jacaman Rd., Laredo, Texas 78041; (956)722-8850.