Ernestino Ortega, AGIF Pioneer Dies at 88
Designed American GI Forum Shield in 1948

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, TX–Today we learned that Mr. Ernestino Ortega, a charter member and the designer of our American GI Forum Shield had passed away. I received a call from one of his daughters Elizabeth (Liza), who gave me the sad news. She asked that I inform the members, and I asked if she would send me some pictures and a short bio so that we may be able to pay tribute to such an important member of the American GI Forum family. Below read her response and information on his life and services.

Dear Mr. Rodriguez,

“My father, after his family, was most proud of his contribution to the American GI Forum.  In 1948 at the age of 23, our dad's design of the American GI Forum Shield was chosen by the founder of the American GI Forum Dr. Hector P. Garica. He started the Mickey Espinosa AGIF Chapter in Amarillo, Texas and had the opportunity to host a convention, in Amarillo”

“He served his country in the United States Navy from 1944 - 1946 as a Seaman 2nd. Class.  He moved his family to Amarillo, Texas in 1952 and worked for Gilvin & Terrill road construction for 35 yrs.  He was also a member of the American Legion.”

An AGIF Legend
Mr. Ernestino Ortega, 88
, passed away on October 31, 2014 in Winter Springs, FL. Mr. Ortega was born on November 11, 1925 in McAllen, TX to Ysidro and Josefina Ortega. Ernestino married Elia Galvan in McAllen on January 17th.,1944 and were married 70 years.   

After a 10 year battle with Alzheimer's he succumb to complications resulting by Alzheimer's.He is survived by his wife Elia G. Ortega, one son Daniel Ortega and his wife Lolly of Texas City; two daughters Mary Ernestina (Tina) Callender of Miami, FL, Mary Elizabeth (Liza) Ortega and her partner Karen Shank of Winter Park, FL.; 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

The American GI Forum is saddened at the loss of another early pioneers who played an important role in the development of the American GI Forum. There are some members of the American GI Forum who had the pleasure of knowing him and may remember wonderful memories of times spent during younger years! And others, though not having known him, can think fondly of him for the design of the shield as his legacy and the brand of our beloved American GI Forum.

He leaves behind a wonderful family. Our sincere sympathies to them and we pray that they will all be a great source of comfort and support to one another. May Ernestino Rest in Peace.

A memorial service will be held at DeGusipe Funeral Home in Maitland tomorrow, Friday, November 7, 2014 at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to your favorite charity. Anyone who may have any memories or photos of Ernestino we would appreciate it if they would post it on the following site.<>