Santiago P. Brito, "Jimmy", 95 years old of Las Cruces, NM died Thursday, October 5, 2006, at his home. Jimmy was born on October 28, 1912, the year that New Mexico became a State. Jimmy's father, Frank Bito, was one of the last of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and his mother Concha Padilla was closely related to early prominent Las Cruces citizen Eugene Van Patten.
Jimmy's formal education began at the old grand View School on East Lohman. He also attended Lucero and Central School. In 1940 he joined the Army at Ft. Bliss, where he was a member of the horse Calvary and the 82nd Field Artillery. During World War II he served in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy at Omaha Beach on D-day, Northern France and in Rhineland. A severe return bout with malaria forced his evacuation to England on the eve of the Battle of the Bulge. He left the military in 1955 as a sergeant and was employed at White Sands Missile Range Proving Grounds in 1956, retiring in 1970 with a combined 27 years certificate of Merit. Jimmy's knowledge of history of the Mesilla Valley was recognized and he received the "Living Treasure" award by the Dona Ana County Historical Society in 1987. He is survived by a brother Joseph Brito of Los Angeles, CA and is also survived and lovingly remembered by nieces and nephews, Albert Jimenez, Ida Hensley, Kathryn Thomas, Patsy, Martha Camarillo, Frank Brito, all of California. Connie Padilla, Jesus Padilla, Tere Padilla, and David Padilla all of Las Cruces, NM. Ramon Mendoza Jr, Jose Mendoza, Frances Mendoza, Santiago Mendoza, Rosario Talamantes, Eugenio Mendoza, and Gorgonio Mendoza all of El Paso, TX. One cousin Emelia Halbrook of Oregon, and a lifelong friend, Dan Aranda.
The Rite of Committal will be at 10 AM on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.Las Cruces, NM
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