World War II seaman stays active at 90

HARLINGEN — Dionicio Peña survived the Great Depression and World War II.

Now in the 21st century, he just enjoys watching cowboy movies and tending to the cattle on his friend’s ranch in Harlingen.

The 90-year-old has a regular routine. He will get up early to feed the cattle and then he goes to a local adult day care to interact with others and have breakfast and lunch.

In the afternoons, Peña will enjoy a good John Wayne cowboy movie. Then he grabs his walking cane again and walks about 100 yards to gather the feed bucket that he carries to the corral for the cattle.

And with a hoot and a holler, Peña gets the attention of the cattle and they know what time it is — feeding time.

“I like to be out there with the animals,” he said.

He moved into his longtime friend’s home three years ago, not long after his wife passed away. Given his age, the World War II Navy veteran was told by a doctor he should move into a home for the elderly or live with a friend or relative.

He agreed to move in with his friend, for whom he worked for many years as a truck driver.

Peña was born in a small village between Reynosa and Matamoros. He remembers the fried chicken his mother used to prepare for him and his dad. He said his mom used to raise a lot of chickens when he was young.

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