San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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November 11th, 2009
Veterans Day ’09: U.S. Army is a tradition for Ivarra family

by PAT MURDOCK

Born in Mexico City in 1922, Thomas P. Ivarra Sr. was four years old when he immigrated to Texas with his family, settling on the land in Martindale that he would farm and ranch for more than 60 years.

Tom Sr. was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Corps when he was 22 years old. After basic training at Fort Sam Houston, he was shipped to the South Pacific where he served during World War II. At the time of his discharge, he had obtained the rank of staff sergeant and had acquired several overseas medals for his work loading ammunition on the Army’s airplanes.

After serving five years in the Army, three of those overseas, Tom Sr. was discharged and obtained his GED through a VA school.

But he was not quite through with a uniform. He joined the Texas State Guard in 1969 and served with the guard until he was retired in 2002 at the age of 80.

Sixty-two-year-old Thomas Ivarra Jr. grew up on that family farm in Martindale. A 1966 graduate of San Marcos High School, he was drafted into the U.S. Army right out of high school. He completed basic training at Fort Polk, La., and special weapons training at Fort Sill, Okla., before he was sent to Vietnam with an artillery battalion in May of 1967. With the rank of sergeant first class, he was assistant gun commander in his unit.

After Vietnam, he was assigned to an artillery unit at Fort Hood. At Fort Hood, he became an artillery instructor and served in the Honor Guard. He completed his service in 1970.

Tom Jr. started college on the GI Bill while in Killeen, attending Central Texas College. Later he attended Austin Community College. Then he began his 30 -year career with IBM in Austin, where he lived 33 years. At IBM, he started out manufacturing electric IBM typewriters but advanced to the company’s computer division. By the time of his retirement, he was an electrical technician. After retiring from IBM and 13 years in retail, he moved to Lockhart four and a half years ago.

The two Ivarras were nominated for grand marshal honors by Connie Ivarra, who wrote, “I would like to nominate my 87-year-old father and my 62-year-old brother. Thomas P. Ivarra Sr. served in the Army Air Force during World War II and Thomas C. Ivarra Jr. served in Vietnam.”

Proud of their family’s veterans, Connie and sister Mary Ivarra watched as the two men were honored along with several others who served as the San Marcos City Council passed a resolution Monday afternoon, recognizing the eleven individuals nominated for grand marshal by members of the local community. Both Ivarras will be part of the honor guard riding on a float behind parade grand marshal George Kumpe Saturday morning.

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