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De Leon descendent dies at age 99

By KBell
June 2, 2012 at 1:02 a.m.
Updated June 3, 2012 at 1:03 a.m.

Santiago "Jim" De Leon, the oldest of the De Leon family, laughs as family members gather around him for their photo at the De Leon reunion in 2011.

Like the ancestors that came before him, Santiago "Jim" De Leon's story will carry on well past his death.

De Leon is a direct descendant of the founders of Victoria, Don Martin De Leon and Dona Patricia. He died Thursday at age 99 at his daughter's home in Houston, his daughter, Patricia De Leon DeLuna said.

"He had animation and charisma. People just loved him. They flocked to him," DeLuna said. "They wanted to hear his stories."

Take, for example, that time her dad jumped off a bridge at the Guadalupe River to save a drowning woman in 1936, DeLuna remembered. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, De Leon's artwork began making waves in books and newspapers, too.

"He was a true storyteller because he recounted the legends he heard as a child. He had a fantastic memory," DeLuna said.

Just last April, Jim De Leon gathered one last time with his large, storied family at a reunion in Victoria. He was the oldest family member attending the celebration.

Visitation will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday with a rosary recited at 7 p.m. at Artero Memorial Chapels, 706 East Crestwood Drive. A funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 208 W. River St. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery.



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