Jose “Joe” Ornelas, Jr. went to be with the Lord on January 29, 2024, at age 79. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Linda, for 55 years before she passed in 2021.
Growing up in what was regularly called “Ornelas-ville” by the locals (between Bigfoot and Moore), he always had pride living at “the ranch”, which has been in the family for generations. He played football, enjoyed sports, and was a 1964 graduate of Pearsall High School. After graduation he joined the United States Army and was stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX. Later he and his wife Linda moved to Texas City where he was a fire fighter at NASA and worked with Monsanto. Upon moving to Alvin, Texas, he began coaching baseball in the Babe Ruth League, and hosted the Allstar Team from Mexico while being the Director of the Babe Ruth league in the Houston area. One of his favorite stories is that he attended the first ever game at the new Houston Astrodome in 1965, between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros. He got to witness Mickey Mantle hit a home run, and see other players such as Turk Farrell, Joe Morgan, and Roger Maris. Not to mention President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, and Texas Governor John Connally being in attendance. To top it off, the Astros beat the Bronx Bombers by a score of 2 – 1.
In Devine he coached Little League and Senior League and was also an umpire for many leagues and
school competitions. He had a successful insurance agency, was elected to the Devine City Council, and along with Dale Hatley, was a driving force in establishing the Devine Youth Sports Association (DYSA). In moving back to the ranch, he was President of the Water Board for Bigfoot, and was instrumental in the inception of the Bigfoot Water Supply. He also became a Texas Peace Officer and was Constable Precinct 2 for Frio County for over thirty years, as well as many years serving as bailiff in the Frio County Courthouse, before retiring in 2017.
He enjoyed traveling with his family throughout the United States which included trips to the Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, and many National Parks. He had a love for hunting with his flintlock black powder muzzleloader or bow, and for years he and his buddies would hunt with horses and mules deep into the mountains and wilderness of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
Our family was blessed to have such an amazing person in our lives. He was a wonderful dad, grandpa, and husband. We will forever have fond memories of his stories of growing up at the ranch, going to dances with his high school sweetheart, and enjoying life with his brothers, sisters, parents, and later all his in-laws. Our world will be different without him, but we will always be blessed that we had so many years with him. We will cherish all that he taught us and embrace the love he had for us. Our dad will forever be in our hearts.
Joe is preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Linda Rendon Ornelas. He is survived by daughter Stacy Ornelas Hajduk (Tony), son Joe “Jody” Ornelas III, and grandchildren Ethan (Marina) Hajduk, and Erika Hajduk. He is also survived by his sister Mary Esther (Michael), brothers Willie (Mary), Carlos (Lupe), and several nieces and nephews, and other extended family members and friends. He was also preceded in death by his parents Jose Ornelas, Sr. and Camila Ortiz Ornelas, sister Josie, and brothers Johnny (Gloria) and Guadalupe (Irene).
Rest in peace dad, we love you.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 8, 2024, from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. with a Rosary recited at 7:00 P.M. Primrose Funeral Service Chapel Pearsall, Texas. Mass will be held on Friday, February 9, 2024, at 10:00 A.M. Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church with interment to follow in Longview Cemetery.
Anyone wishing to leave condolences, share memories, or sign the online guestbook may do so by visiting www.primrosefuneralservices.com Arrangements are under the direction of Primrose Funeral Services, 608 Trinity, Pearsall, Texas 78061, (830) 334-3361.