Rafael (Ray) Esparza Torres Jr. of Bastrop, passed away Oct. 28, 2019. He was born Feb. 14, 1928, in Mercedes. He was the son of the late Rafael and Antonia Esparza Torres Sr.
In his younger years Ray enlisted in the Army and served in 101st Airborne Division in WWII, finished his career and retired from United States Air Force.
He saw action in many parts of the world in his 20 years of service for his country. Ray was rescued from Korea after 17 days in the jungle. He was on a military ship when it broke a seam and Ray was at the rising of the US Flag over Paris after the war.
He was active in boxing and baseball while in the service. While he was in the east coast after he came back from overseas. He fought in boxing competitions and was awarded several golden gloves. He also received a golden glove jacket he was very proud of.
He retired in 1966 from the Air Force at Cannon Air Force Base Clovis, N.M. Ray moved to Blair, Neb. and worked in construction for several years. He then moved his family to Lockhart. He later moved to Austin and then Bastrop.
He enjoyed his farm life and working in his workshop. He never missed his morning and afternoon walks. He was an avid fan of Wheel of Fortune, boxing and his favorite football team the Dallas Cowboys.
Ray’s memberships included Ascension Catholic Church in Bastrop, VFW Post #15045, American Legion #83 and Carpenters Union.
Ray was preceded in death by his brothers, Jose, George, Hector and Tony Torres; sisters, Chita Hinojosa and Mary Alice Wilt; sons, Mile and Mickey Torres and step daughter Pat Bittner.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years Nelda Rieger Torres; his sons, Michael Torres, Mark (Irma) Torres, Merl Torres, Matthew (Marlene) Torres, Marlon Torres; daughters, Elma Torres, Elizabeth (Edward) Simmonds, Elaine (Thomas) Eisele, Angela (David) Cranek; step daughter Janice Bittner; 15 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
The family will receive visitors Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Weed Corley Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N Lamar Blvd. in Austin.
Services will be held Thursday, Oct. 31, at 10 a.m. at Weed Corley Fish Funeral Home.
Burial will be at Austin Memorial Park, 2800 Hancock Dr. in Austin, following the service.
Remembrances may be shared online at www.wcfish.com.