Alex was dedicated to the Marine Corps
and his Country
San Antonio, TX – An adventurous young man who joined the Marine Corps before graduating from high school, Leroy Calvin Alex Jr. never lost the patriotism that propelled him to serve in the military.
Losing a leg and two fingers in combat in Vietnam in the late 1960s, Alex wanted to be allowed to continue serving his country.
“They were going to release him from the Marine Corps, but he fought it,” his sister Valerie Arreguin said. “He loved the Marines, loved everything about it.”
Alex, who received two Purple Heart medals and a Bronze Star Medal for Valor, among other awards and citations, died Nov. 21 at 68.
The oldest of seven children raised in the Southeast Side of San Antonio, Alex showed early promise as a salesman.
“He worked for Watkins (Products) selling door-to-door, was good at what he did,” Arreguin said. “He could sell to anybody.”
Even so, he was restless.
“At 16 he ran away from home, hitchhiked to New York,” his sister Sherry Sublousky said. “He was gone for a week.”
Another time, Alex hitchhiked to California.
He was attending Brackenridge High School when he decided to join the Marine Corps.
“My mother kept telling him he didn’t want to do that,” Arreguin said. But “Junior was always one of those who wanted to do his own thing.”
Sublousky, still a young girl at the time, and never forgot the day the family was notified of her brother’s injuries.
“Two Marines fully dressed in dress blues … rang the doorbell,” she recalled. “We thought that we’d lost him.”
Sent to Brooke Army Medical Center to recover, Alex received a visit from Bob Hope and a letter from then-president Richard Nixon, who informed him that he had personally asked the Navy Department “be as understanding as circumstances permit in its review” of Alex’s request to remain on active duty.
No less a patriot after leaving the Marine Corps, Alex traveled to the Texas coast on July 4, 1972, raising a flag on the beach and laying beside it.
The scene caught the attention of a news photographer who took a picture that many newspapers ran the next day.
Alex also wrote to the San Antonio Light in the early 1970s, suggesting that the city establish a memorial for Vietnam Veterans, an idea that gained momentum in the 1980s.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Veterans Memorial Plaza was unveiled in 1986.
Leroy Calvin Alex Jr.
Born: May 18, 1948, San Antonio
Died: Nov. 21, 2016, San Antonio
Preceded by: Mother Eleanor Alex.
Survived by: Daughters Jennifer Alex, and Summer Alex; son Aaron Alex; father Leroy Alex Sr.; three brothers; three sisters; 16 grandchildren.
Services: Funeral at 9:45 a.m. November 29, 2016 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 16075 N. Evans Road, Selma, Texas