A Funeral Mass was held for Tomas Romero, 84, of Exeter. He died peacefully at his home in Exeter, March 3, 2005 with his daughter, Linda, at his side.

He was born on Oct. 30, 1920 in Llano Quemado, N.M., to Juan Bautista and Margarita Vigil Romero in the same area where his ancestors had lived for over 300 years.

He was a WWII veteran, serving in the 351st Bomb Group stationed in Polebrook, England. As a ball Turret gunner in a B-17 "Flying Fortress," he completed 25 high altitude-bombing missions and received the "Distinguished Flying Cross" for this achievement.

After the War, Mr. Romero returned to New Mexico to continue his education receiving his B.A. and M.A. at New Mexico A and M College (NMSU) in Las Cruces and received a PhD. Fellowship to University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

He was an educator for 37 years in both New Mexico and Southern California. He served as a High School Counselor and Professor of Spanish at Mt. San Antonio college. A strong proponent of all education, he spent the last six years of his life educating the youth of Tulare County about World War II.

After retirement in June 1986, he traced his direct genealogy line for eight generations from Francisco Xavier Romero, his first ancestor born in the New World, to himself. He received the "Primeras Familias de Nuevo Mexico" ("First Families of New Mexico") Certificate from the New Mexico Genealogical Society of Albuquerque in 1995.

He was active in the 351st Bomb Group Association Board of Directors, Distinguished Flying Cross Society, B-17 Combat Crewman and Wingman, Genealogical Society of Hispanic America, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and Kiwanis Club.

He was preceded in death by one son, Edwin T. Romero; one granddaughter, Brittany Romero; one brother, Juan Tobias Romero; and one sister, Consuelo Romero Hartt.

He is survived by two sisters, Casilda Romero Valdez and Agnes Romero Reynolds; wives, Cecilia Montez Romero and Constance Perett; children, Tomas F. Romero and wife, Wendy, Linda Romero McEwen and husband, George, Robert R. Romero and wife, Gloria, David F. Romero and wife, Margaret, grandchildren, Tomas N. Romero and wife, Christine, Matt McEwen and wife, Lisa, Ryan Romero and wife, Laura, P.T. McEwen and wife, Wendy, Robert A. McEwen, Courtney Romero, Cristina Romero, Bobby Romero, and Vanessa Romero, great-grandchildren, Alex and Lauren McEwen, several nieces and nephews, and many good friends.

Interment will be at Sierra Vista Cemetery in Taos, N.M. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Exeter Boys and Girls Club, 362 E. Pine St., Exeter, CA 93221 or Hospice of Tulare County.

Arrangements were under the direction of Smith Family Chapel of Exeter. Online condolences may be made at www.smithfamilychapel.com.

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