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Cipriano F. Guerra, Jr.

Obituary for Cipriano F. Guerra, Jr.

July 31, 1927 - May 17, 2017
San Antonio, Texas | Age 89


Cipriano Felix Guerra, Jr. took his final flight on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

If you had the privilege of knowing Cip, then you know It is impossible to describe him in a few short words. He was supremely intelligent, hard-working, kind, generous, patriotic, creative, broad-minded, insightful and principled.

As the eldest of eight children he was always looked up to and consulted for guidance, this remained true though their adult lives as well.

As a parent, he was a traditional mid-century father – he provided for his family and doled out the discipline. He took joy in seeing his children squeal with delight when he brought home balsa wood gliders or suggested a trip to the ice cream parlor.

His business associates valued his analytical mind and his judicious decision-making. His adversaries knew he was a formidable opponent and rarely, if ever, came out on top.

He loved music, especially classical and jazz; had a lifelong love of learning and read voraciously; loved the majesty of the earth and the heavens; never swore in front of his children, though he often loudly proclaimed that all the other drivers on the road were "toads"; firmly believed in the free-market economy and limited government; and was eminently proud of his parents, siblings, children and grandchildren. His devotion to family was immeasurable.

Cip accomplished more in his life than most would dare to dream of.

He was born July 31, 1927 in Mission, Texas and was the eldest child of Cipriano F. Guerra, Sr. and Bertha Pena Guerra, who both preceded him in death.
Cip shared his young life with his siblings Joe, Bert (deceased), Xavier, Gerry (deceased in childhood), Ricky (deceased), Lita, and Oscar. Raised in Mission in a one-bedroom home with a school bus converted to a bunk-house in the backyard and guided by their parents' strong faith and their conviction that education and hard work are the keys to success, Cip and his brothers and sister all proved that the "American Dream" is wholly achievable and all went on to successful professional careers.

Cip attended St. Joseph's Academy in Laredo, usually hitchhiking between the two cities to visit his family. He graduated in 1944 at the age of 16. Since the U.S. Army would not accept boys younger than 17, he immediately enlisted the U.S. Navy to serve in World War II. He transferred to the U.S. Army when he was old enough and ultimately moved to the U.S. Air Force. He attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio as a member of the ROTC and earned his B.S. in Pre-Med in 1950. Initially aspiring to be a doctor, Cip found he could not really abide the sight of blood, he ended up training as a pilot. He completed his Basic and Advanced Pilot Training in 1951 and his Combat Pilot Training the same year.

Cip served at Kimpo Air Base in South Korea as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 100 combat missions and was the chief of fighter operations for the 5th Air Force. We all like to say that Cip "captured" the first Russian MiG, which was a prize the U.S. was anxious to get its hands on (offering a $100,000 reward); however, the fact is that he accepted the surrender of the aircraft when the pilot flew it to Kimpo and parked it in front of Cip's F-86 which he was readying for take-off. More information about this historic event is located on the web. Though Cip is rarely mentioned by name, there is a wonderful display at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Alabama that includes a life-size display of Cip accepting the surrender. He and the North Korean pilot, Ken Rowe (formerly No Kum-Sok) spoke together at many official events in the years immediately after the surrender.

Upon his return home from South Korea, he married Ann Moulder (now Rau) and together they had five children. He completed both his Basic Instructor and Jet Instructor courses in 1954 and became a flight instructor. He then attended the Air Force Institute of Technology School of Engineering and received his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering in 1963. He served in this capacity and in technical intelligence until his retirement as a Lt. Colonel in 1969.

An eminently modest man, when children or grandchildren asked about military decorations he received, he would reply they mean nothing, "they give them out for showing up". That may be partially true, but not everyone "showed up", and his service record was exceptional. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, The American Campaign Medal with One Bronze Star, the United Nations Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Air Force Longevity Service Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.

Upon retirement from the USAF, Cip moved with his family to San Antonio and began working with the National Economic Development Association, a non-profit corporation founded to foster the free enterprise system among Spanish-speaking Americans. In the early 1970s he and several colleagues opened the first hispanically owned Savings and Loan in Texas, as well as the first hispanically owned Bank in San Antonio. In 1972, he became the Associate City Manager of San Antonio for Planning and Development. In this capacity, he led the way in developing the Mission Trail and in transforming an under-utilized area occupied by Mi Tierra Restaurant and the farmers market into El Mercado, which remains one of San Antonio's premier tourist attractions.

In 1977, Cip left City employment to bring cable television to San Antonio. True to its reputation as "the biggest small town in America", San Antonio lagged well behind other large cities in joining the cable age. He worked tirelessly to educate city officials in San Antonio and surrounding areas of the benefits of increased choices over broadcast television, as well as the job creation opportunities. After successfully securing the franchise from the city of San Antonio, he ran the cable company in San Antonio into the 1980s.

From 1989 to 1991, Cip served as the Deputy Director of the Selective Service under the Bush Administration. He returned to San Antonio in 1991 and married Sylvia R. Hernandez in 1992. He resumed his duties at Plaza Bank and retired from the bank in 1993. During the late 1980s and 1990s he served on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which is a legislatively created board that provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system. During the 1990s and through most of the 2000s, he served on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson's Military Academy Selection Board.

He is survived by his wife, Sylvia Guerra; his children, Michael Guerra, M.D. and his wife, Penny; Anita Guerra and her wife, Chris Sedonic; Laura Coffey; Celeste Thornton; and Mary Guerra; Sylvia's children, Selena Frost and Aaron Michael Hernandez; nine grandchildren, L. Cleve Stuart, Capt. Thomas R. Stuart and his wife, Jill, Micaela McGlone and her husband, Sam, William W. Coffey and his wife, Stephanie, William O. Thornton, Sarah M. Stuart, Evan Thornton, Hunter Frost, and Fisher Frost; two great granddaughters, Olivia McGlone and Julia Stuart; brothers, Joe Guerra and his wife, Chelo; Xavier Guerra; Oscar Guerra and his wife, Debbie; his sister, Lita Guerra; the mother of his children, Ann Rau; and his three dearest friends, Art Troilo, Louis Terrazas, and Jose Martinez.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Porter Loring Mortuary North, followed by a Rosary at 7:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church, 102 Lorenz, San Antonio, Texas 78209. Cipriano's committal service with Full Military Honors will follow at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Fisher House at Brooke Army Medical Center, 3623 George C. Beach Road, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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