Gus Salaiz Pineda, beloved husband and father passed away on February 14, 2022, surrounded by his beloved wife and children. Gus was 90 years old and had resided in El Paso, Texas for 53 years. He was married to Rachel Madrid for 63 years. Gus is survived by his wife Rachel and his 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 September 11, 1931, at his 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). Coming from a devout Catholic family, Gus and his brothers served as altar boys. While a student at Hurley High School, he bought his first car at the age of 16 and also started loving golf all his life. After graduating from high school in 1949, Gus began college at New Mexico Western. When his college funds ran out, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951. His military 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 the artillery, regularly on guard along the West German-Czechoslovakian border, protecting against the threat of Russian attack. After his years of military service, he was honorably discharged from the military in 1955. Upon his return to the United States, he resumed his studies and later earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of New Mexico, earning his degree in 1957.
Gus and Rachel met in June 1956 in Silver City, NM. They were married in May 1958 in Deming, NM, and honeymooned in Mexico City and Acapulco. Gus and Rachel first settled in Albuquerque, NM when he was beginning his business career with Safeco Insurance Company. Gus and Rachel’s four 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 have built their lives focusing on family, faith and education.
A few years after arriving in El Paso, Gus decides to go into business and acquires an independent insurance agency. Buying from a longtime sole proprietor, Gus honored the legacy he purchased by naming his business, Pineda-Rodehaver Agency. Over time, he purchased three additional agencies, growing his business throughout. His work has always been focused on service to others, rather than seeking the greatest possible profits. In the early 1970s, Gus was among the few Latinos in El Paso to own an insurance agency. Over time, Nancy and Michele worked for their father in his agency. Gus served as president of The Independent Insurance Agents of El Paso and received the association’s Agent of the Year award. Throughout his working years, Gus has pursued his great passion for golf, regularly connecting with longtime friends and family members.
Gus has 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 homeless people. He also served on the board of Father Yermo High School and helped raise funds for many charities and Catholic organizations. For many years Gus participated in a program where he made prison visitations to share the Word with incarcerated men.
Through his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Gus’ commitment to family, faith and education continues today and into the future.
All are welcome as we honor and remember Gus with the following services:
Visitation: Wednesday, February 23 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Sunset Funeral Homes-East, 750 N. Carolina, El Paso
Holy Rosary and Vigil: Wednesday, February 23 at 6:30 p.m. also at Sunset Funeral Homes-East
Funeral Mass: Thursday, February 24 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish, 5750 Doniphan Dr, El Paso
Interment: Thursday, February 24 at 12:00 p.m. at Memorial Pines Cemetery
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gus’s name to Annunciation House. Services are entrusted to Sunset Funeral Homes-East.
Posted by Sunset Funeral Homes – East – El Paso on February 20, 2022.