Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) Jose Torres "JT" Avalos, more affectionately known as "Monko," was born on July 19, 1937, in Uvalde, Texas, to Santos Torres Avalos and Thomas Mata Avalos. The Avalos family was an extremely hard-working bunch. Having lost their father at an early age, each child worked many jobs and learned different trades. JT spent much of his youth working in the fields picking various crops (dreading beets the most). JT faced adversity throughout his entire upbringing; the harshness of poverty, working in extreme labor conditions, and the passing of several family members. At the age of 17, JT decided he needed a different life and left Uvalde. He falsified his age and enlisted in the US Air Force.
JT's decision to enlist in the Air Force was the defining moment of his legacy. In the winter of 1956, JT returned home on military leave. On a West-Texas Saturday night, our beloved "Memo" (Carmen) invited our handsome, hot-headed, and cocky "Monko" to a local high school dance. Following a few cheek-to-cheek and bear-hug dances to the Platters, "The Great Pretender," the flame between our 16-year-old red-haired, green-eyed beauty and our 18-year-old rugged GI grew. Having stayed out past Carmen's curfew and fearing her mother's wrath, the lovebirds decided to elope. This young, wild, spirited act was just the first of many adventures of JT and Carmen's amazing journey.
JT and Carmen married on February 7, 1956. Days following their marriage, they made their first of many moves and never looked back. JT and Carmen were a scrappy couple and proud military family of three vibrant children; Cynthia, Joseph, and Thomas. Early in his career, JT found many ways to earn extra income to support his family; selling beer and peanuts at the ballpark, umpiring, and renting his vehicle to GIs at the dorms (my mom claims Monko was the first Uber!).
Having been stationed across the US, JT's longest continuous assignment and home were Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. Clark AFB is where his kids grew, played sports, and created life-long memories. It is also where JT experienced one of his most notable and proudest duties during the Vietnam War, supporting "Operation Homecoming," the return of our POWs. Our grandpa was so proud and honored to have met our brave POWs and aid in their comfort and return to civilization as his team would debrief them on their captivity at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton." Following his tours overseas, the Avalos family returned to Texas and made San Antonio home. SMSgt JT Avalos retired after 28 years of proud military service and 22 years of civil service.
If JT wasn't in uniform or working in the yard, you could find him on the golf course. He loved the game of golf. It was more than birdies and bogeys, but the bond and camaraderie created with close friends and family. Although retired, JT never slowed down. Our Monko was active. Monko was always in the yard or his shed finding work to do or in his office organizing his impressive collection of personalized and numbered labeled binders, which at last count reached more than 50! He was a full-time grandpa, the absolute best! He went to every sports game, choir recital, cheerleading performance, graduation, and party. Monko never missed a party!
Our family revered our grandpa. Our grandpa was such a proud man. A man of honor. A man of courage. A man of family. We are so proud of what this proud, courageous man overcame and the life and legacy he created.
On May 21, 2022, our Monko passed. Monko battled stomach cancer for over a decade, but we know his broken heart took him to be with his beloved Carmen. He so loved our Memo, and as sad as we are to lose him, there is a certain peace and calmness knowing our loving grandparents are together again.
As Monko joins our beloved Memo, he is survived by his daughter, Sindi Rosales, and her husband, Joe. His son, Joe Avalos, and his wife, Eva. His son, Thomas Avalos, and his wife, Tammy, his seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, sister, nephews, and nieces.
We will never forget Monko and the love and wisdom he shared with each of us.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a charitable donation be made on Mr. Avalos' behalf to the Epilepsy Foundation Central & South Texas EFCST.org 210-653-5353 the direct link to Mr. Avalos donation page is: https://app.mobilecause.com/f/3u8x/n?vid=skkca
A Visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at Schertz Funeral Home from 5-8 PM, with a Rosary being recited at 7:00 PM. A Funeral Service will be held the following day on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at Schertz Funeral Home at 12:00 PM, following the Funeral Service we will be traveling in procession to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery for a 1:30 PM Graveside Service.