Remembering Cesar Ponce - 1932-2015
Mr. Cesar Mercedes Ponce was a beloved member of Troop 1021 and strongly identified with the vision and purpose of its founding and operation. Despite declining health, Cesar played an active role in the Troop during the twilight of his life. He visited Troop meetings and parties, conducted Indian Lore Merit Badge classes for the boys and visited during summer camp at Bear Creek. Cesar was a friend to all in the Troop and a mentor to many of its adult leaders.
Cesar Mercedes Ponce
September 24, 1932 - December 12, 2015
Cesar Mercedes Ponce, age 83 of Tulsita, Texas, devoted and beloved father, grandfather and brother, passed away peacefully into the arms of our Lord on 12 December 2015 with family by his side.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jose J. and Juanita Ponce; wife, Aurora Ponce; brother, Juan Ponce and sister, Maria Guevara. He is survived by his son, Ceasar M. Ponce, wife, Imelda Ponce; granddaughters, Yvonne Post and Nadia Payne; daughter, Linda Sheptock, husband, Joe Sheptock; granddaughters, Rebecca Sheptock, Jessica Sheptock; grandson, Nathan Sheptock and great-grandson, Thomas Jesse; brother, Joe Ponce; sisters, Lydia Barrientes, Maria Trevino, Angelita Lopez and Sylvia Gutierrez; numerous nieces and nephews and "sweetheart" of 5 years, Esther Navarro.
Cesar was born on September 24, 1932 in Ventura, California. His family moved to San Antonio, Texas around 1933. He graduated from San Antonio Vocational and Technical High School in May of 1951 with honors. He received a scholarship to St. Mary's University and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Theology. He then received a Master of Arts Degree in religious studies from Incarnate Word University.
Cesar strongly believed in higher education and was the first in his family to obtain a college degree. His vision for the future included sending his own children to college and was one of his greatest gifts. Linda attended TCU and graduated in 1977 with a Nursing Degree. Ceasar attended Texas A&M University and graduated in 1978 with an Architectural Degree.
Cesar loved country living and was a rancher in Hunt, Texas, Comfort, Texas, Devine, Texas and Tulsita, Texas. He was also the Park Ranger at the Bear Creek Scout Reservation for several years. He raised livestock and had names for all his animals throughout the years. He also had numerous family pets but his most cherished pets were his cat "Oreo" and his horse, "Gabriel" who was with him for over 17 years.
He was an outstanding musician and learned to play guitar and drums while in high school. He organized one of the first conjunto groups in San Antonio Called, "Conjunto Ranchero". Throughout his musical career, he played guitar with several mariachi groups and performed at numerous weddings and festivals. His most noteworthy performance of his musical career was when Cesar and his brothers and cousins would get together early in the morning on every Mother's Day, go house to house and serenade all of the Moms in the Ponce Family.
He worked at Ozuna Engineering as a registered land surveyor and chief of parties and head draftsman for over 25 years. He was ordained as a Deacon in the Archdiocese of San Antonio in February, 1981 and was a member of the clergy at St. Cornelius Parish in Karnes City, Texas and Our Lady of Peace Parish in Kenedy, Texas. He also served as chaplain at the John Connally, Jr. TDCJ Unit near Kenedy, Texas.
He was strongly committed to serving the needs of others and his ministry touched the lives of many by providing hope, comfort and peace to the glory of God. As Deacon, he baptized all 5 grandchildren into the Catholic Church and performed the Sacrament of Matrimony for granddaughters Yvonne Post and Nadia Payne.
Cesar was an esteemed member of the Boy Scouts of America and the Alamo Area Council. He joined his first troop in 1945 and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career including the AD Altare Dei, Silver Beaver Award, James E. West Fellow and the Order of the Arrow Centurion Award. He served as a troop scoutmaster for many years and even served as a chaplain at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
He served on numerous scout committees and advisory boards; always giving of his time and volunteering. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow and in August, 2015 attended the National OA Conference at Michigan State University. He authored the Bear Creek Prayer in 1979 and it is posted in the dining hall at the Bear Creek Scout Reservation in Hunt, Texas. He loved scouting, fellowship and he loved the outdoors and camping. Most importantly he loved helping and educating the youth in scouting.
He was extremely proud of his Navajo culture and attended numerous Native American Pow-wows. He was an active member in the Aina Topa Hutsi Lodge and taught the Indian Lore Merit Badge at McGimsey Scout Park. His greatest honor was to see the young scouts he mentored develop into leaders in family and faith and continue leadership in the scouting program. He was a testament to the Scouting Program and lived his life in accordance with the core values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
He loved life completely and he lived it with purpose and passion. He loved his family through his faith, prayer, affection, respect, encouragement and support. His passing will leave a deep void in the lives of those he loved and those who loved him, but his source of strength will continue in all of us. That is the way he lived and that is the way he will be remembered, and he will always be by our side.
In addition to his Troop involvement, Cesar was a founding and active member and of SAAESAA (the San Antonio Area Eagle Scout Alumni Association), a group founded to help support Scouting in under-served communities. As the group's chaplain, he would start each meeting's invocation with, "Lord, bless us in our Scouting work."
When the subject of Troop 1021 arose in conversation, Cesar would display a serious look and ask in a deep and more forceful tone: "What about the boys? How are the boys?" There has never been a more steadfast supporter of the Boy Scouts of America than Cesar Ponce.
He is missed.