Felix Rodriguez, Sr., a World War II Veteran who personally witnessed the Japanese surrender, died last night at his Elsa home. Rodriguez had been battling pancreatic cancer since last year.

“He was the personification of all that is best in a Valley veteran — loyalty, humility and a strong dedication to family and community. These are the traits that symbolize his life and the lives of so many other soldiers from South Texas,” Peña said.

Born in McAllen in 1926, Mr. Rodriguez enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1944, and as a rifleman. He served with distinction in the Pacific and after helping to liberate the Philippines, he witnessed the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. He earned a number of military honors for his service.

“As we celebrate Independence Day, we should also celebrate people like Mr. Rodriguez whose service and character have made our way of life possible,” Peña said.

After World War II, Mr. Rodriguez began a career as a truck driver. He was a loving husband to his wife of six decades, Esperanza Madrigal Rodriguez and a caring father to his many children. He also took an active role in his community and helped found the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Elsa. 

During the 2008 legislative session, Rep. Peña had a resolution passed honoring Rodriquez and his achievements. You can read the resolution here: http://tinyurl.com/2cx5foz. You can watch a video of Rep. Peña presenting the resolution to Mr. Rodriquez here: http://tinyurl.com/22m78q9.

A rosary will be held at 7:00 p.m. today at L&I Funeral Home in Elsa with the funeral mass to be held on Saturday, July 3rd, at Sacred Heart Church in Elsa at 10:00 a.m.  Interment will follow at Highland Memorial Cemetery in Weslaco.