Gilberto Longoria Riojas of Uvalde died at his residence on Sunday, May 16, 2021. He was born on September 23, 1931 to Fernando Valdez Riojas and Juanita (Longoria) Riojas in Uvalde, Texas. He joined the Army on March 1951 and was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant on January 1964. He earned a Purple Heart for his wartime service in the Korean War for rescuing a buddy who was trapped in a burning tank.
Along with being the owner of Riojas Furniture for many years, he was a lifetime member and past Post Commander of American Legion Post 479, he served two terms as a school board member in the mid-70’s during a period of racial tension in the community, as well as serving as president of the El Progresso Memorial Library board of directors.
He was an avid baseball player as a second baseman and even hit 3 home runs in one game while playing for the Holy Name Society sponsored by the Catholic Church.
He also loved to dance, hunt and fish and cherished his special friendship with Elpidio “Pio” Flores (el Cump) and others such as Tony Hernandez, Frank “Tocho” Ciprian, Alonzo Villareal, Felipe Ybarra, Armando Sanchez, Rudy Flores, Hector Garcia and Father Leo Martinez.
Gilberto is survived by his wife and companion Marie Elena Silva, two sons Gilbert Jr. and wife Tina of Austin, Humberto of Uvalde, one daughter Martha of Uvalde Stepson Rene Aguilar of Uvalde. He is also survived by four grandchildren – Gilbert III, Jamie, Caitlin and Ryan and step grandchildren, Krystalle Rose Aguilar Molina and husband, Lino Of Uvalde ,Agustin Alonzo Aguilar of Uvalde, Alex Aguilar of Houston, Anthony Aguilar of Big Wells and Kalleigh Aguilar of Malania Arkansas as well as five great-grandchildren – Jackson, Rylynn, Tanner, Madelynn and Penelope and step-great grandchildren Krystallen Rose Aguilar Garcia, Adrian Rene Aguilar-Hernandez, Lydia Marie Aguilar, Olivia Nickole Aguilar, Agustin Alonzo Aguilar ,Jr. Wyatt Aguilar all of Uvalde and Ericka Lynn Aguilar Hopkins of Malania Arkansas along with several nieces and nephews.
Gilberto was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Jesus Humberto Riojas, Frances Riojas Rodriguez, Ernesto Riojas, Elodia Riojas Soto, Fernando Riojas, a son Jesus Humberto Silva Riojas, and his former wife and friend Dolores Munoz Riojas.
Services will be conducted thru Rushing-Estes-Knowles on Friday, May 21st beginning at 10:30AM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Burial to follow at Hillcrest Cemetery in Uvalde. Rosary services will be recited Thursday, May 20th at 7:00 PM at Rushing-Estes-Knowles funeral home.
Pallbearers were Gilbert “Gilly” Riojas III, Ruben and Michael Mata, Andre Cruz, Rene Aguliar Silva , and Roberto Polanco.