"Lito," as he was fondly known, was born and raised in Mission and earned his bachelor's degree in education from Pan American University and his master's degree from Texas A&I Kingvsille. He taught for 41 years, his last 22 years at Mission Junior High School before he retired in 2000.
In 2012, he was inducted into the Leo Najo Baseball Hall of Fame. He was a member of the City of Mission Citizens Advisory Committee and was chairman of the Mission Housing Authority. He was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church serving as an usher.
He was a man who always gave, never expecting anything in return. He had a joke for everyone he would talk to, always making everyone laugh. His favorite pastimes were barbecuing and watching football, especially the Dallas Cowboys.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Eufemia Pena Garza; children, Rosie (David) Penoli, Anna (Carlos) Carrillo, and Joe (Sheena) Garza Jr., all of Mission; and his pride and joy, his grandchildren Carlos Alberto Carrillo Jr., Jessica, Sarah and David Penoli, and Abby and Emma Garza. Also, his sisters, Elva (Ramiro) Jackson and Hermelinda Crum; brother, Antonio (Teresa) Casso; sister-in-law, Elia Garza; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Amadeo Garza; mother, Rebecca Garza Casso; stepfather, Jose Antonio Casso; brother, Oscar Garza; and grandchildren Isaac and Nicolas Penoli.
Visitation will be held at Ric Brown Funeral Home in Mission on Monday, April 8, from 4 to 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. The funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, April 9, at 10 a.m. at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Mission. Burial will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Carlos Alberto Carrillo Jr., Oscar Garza Jr., Ronald B. Jackson, Rick Crum, Juan Alberto Casso and Jorge Pena. Honorary pallbearers will be Ramiro Jackson, Antonio Casso, Norberto "Beto" Salinas and Julio Cerda.
The family would like to express their sincere thanks to Dr. Desi Canals, nurses and the staff of the second floor at Mission Regional Medical Center for the wonderful care provided during his illness.