Gus Salaiz Pineda, beloved husband and father passed away on February 14, 2022, surrounded by his loving wife and children. Gus was 90 years old and a resident of El Paso, Texas for 53 years. He was married to Rachel Madrid for 63 years. Gus is survived by his wife Rachel and children: Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid (Larry), Paul Pineda (Jody), Michele Fernandez (Arthur); 6 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; his sister Socorro Muñoz, and many beloved nieces and nephews. Gus’ youngest son, Phillip Pineda, predeceased him. Born on September 11, 1931 at home in Sherman, New Mexico to Pablo and Isidora Salaiz Pineda, Gus spent his youth around Sherman, Bayard and Silver City, all small towns in southern New Mexico. He grew up with 2 older brothers Fernando and Jess, and 3 sisters Nena, Socorro, and Esther (CSJ). From a devout Catholic family, Gus and his brothers served as altar boys. While a student at Hurley High School, he purchased his first car at the age of 16, and also began a lifelong love of the game of golf. Upon graduating high school in 1949, Gus began his college studies at New Mexico Western. When his college funds ran out, he was drafted into the US Army in 1951. His army years were spent in El Paso, Texas (Ft. Bliss); Fort Smith, Arkansas (Fort Chaffee); and Bremerhaven, Germany. Gus trained and served as a forward observer for artillery, regularly on watch along the West Germany-Czechoslovakia border, guarding against the threat of a Russian attack. After his years of military service, he was honorably discharged from the Army in 1955. Upon returning to the US, he returned to his studies and later completed his bachelor’s degree in business at the University of New Mexico, graduating in 1957. Gus and Rachel met in June 1956 in Silver City, NM. They married in May of 1958 in Deming, NM, and spent their honeymoon in Mexico City and Acapulco. Gus and Rachel first settled in Albuquerque, NM, as he began his business career with Safeco Insurance Company. All four of Gus and Rachel’s children were born in Albuquerque, and lived in New Mexico from 1958 to 1968. In December 1968, Gus and Rachel moved the family to El Paso, Texas, where they have lived ever since. Gus and Rachel built their lives centered on family, faith, and education. A few years after arriving in El Paso, Gus decided to go into business for himself and acquired an independent insurance agency. Purchasing from a long-standing sole owner, Gus honored the legacy he bought by naming his firm, the Pineda-Rodehaver Agency. Over time, he purchased three additional agencies, growing his firm all along. His work was always focused on providing service to others, rather than pursuing the largest possible profits. In the early 1970s, Gus was among the few Latinos in El Paso who owned an insurance agency. In time, both Nancy and Michele worked for their father in his agency. Gus served as president of The Independent Insurance Agents of El Paso and was awarded the association’s Agent of Year Award. Throughout his working years, Gus continued his great passion for golf, regularly hitting the links with longtime friends and family members. Gus shared his gifts with the world in many ways. He was an active member and served as president of The El Paso Serra Club, a Catholic group that encourages and supports men with vocations to the priesthood. Additionally, Gus supported Annunciation House in El Paso, an organization that serves the needs of migrants and the homeless. He also served on the Father Yermo High School Board of Trustees, and helped raise funds for numerous Catholic charities and organizations. For many years, Gus participated in a program where he made prison visits to share the Word with men who were incarcerated. Through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, Gus’ commitment to family, faith, and education lives on now and for the future. All are welcome as we honor and remember Gus with the following services: Visitation: Wednesday, Feb 23 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Sunset Funeral Homes-East, 750 N. Carolina, El Paso Holy Rosary and Vigil: Wednesday, Feb 23 at 6:30 pm also at Sunset Funeral Homes-East Funeral Mass: Thursday, Feb 24 at 10:30 am at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish, 5750 Doniphan Dr, El Paso Interment: Thursday, Feb 24 at 12:00 pm at Memorial Pines Cemetery In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gus’ name to Annunciation House. Services are entrusted to Sunset Funeral Homes-East.
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