El Paso lost 3 notable men in 2017 who left mark on family, community

There are three departures of some important people in our community that I would like to share with you. Perhaps they left so suddenly and silently that you missed their passing.

Larry H. Schwartz was the “godfather” of the El Paso family law community. He was a worthy adversary, an outstanding mentor and an all-around great person. The very mention of Larry’s name in connection with a family law case was enough to get the attention of opposing counsel. This was going to be a serious case with a very serious lawyer. If there were secret accounts or issues that were buried, Larry was going to ferret them out. He was instrumental in the revision of the Texas Family Code into the version with which we now practice.

He expected the very best from other attorneys on the case. He worked hard, demanded the best from his colleagues and, ultimately, made sure the job was done – correctly, concisely and thoroughly.

He believed in families. He believed that fathers and mothers were important in the lives of children. And he loved children; his own, his grandchildren and the children of his clients. If you entrusted your case to Larry, you knew he would dedicate his time, talent and care to make sure your family was going to be okay.

Dr. Michael Fushille was an ophthalmologist and a lover of the arts. Originally from Jersey City, he emigrated from the northeast to the El Paso/Juárez region, the land of his bride, Isabel. He was a great man, a wise man and a mentor to many. He introduced the jump shot to the Swiss basketball team, changing the history of European basketball while studying medicine at the University of Lausanne.

While in practice in El Paso, he was a dedicated physician and eye surgeon to thousands of El Pasoans. He gave his time weekly at the Thomason General Hospital Eye Clinic and the founder of the El Paso Eye Bank. He supported the arts, a founding board member of Ballet El Paso.

Dr. Fushille was a family man; he adored his seven children and ten grandchildren. He nurtured them in every way. And that love extended to others; he was a father and mentor to many El Pasoans who needed a little love. He was a great man.

Jose “Pepe” Reyes was the founder and owner of an El Paso institution – Pepe’s Tamales. Of course, if you asked him about it, he would minimize this culinary heaven. But his tamales were the best in the world. He would ship them all over the place; even to Washington D.C. for President George W. Bush. Many holiday tables were dressed with Pepe’s Tamales and the lines would wind around the block in the weeks leading to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Mr. Reyes was the hardest working man in the world. In fact, he worked until the day he was admitted into the hospital. While in the hospital, he asked his son who was attending the two stores. After his passing, his staff made sure that everyone would have their tamales for Christmas – as he would have insisted.

Mr. Reyes was a proud immigrant to the U.S., served in the Navy, and worked at Levi Strauss before he opened Pepe’s Tamales.

He loved his family and the definition of “family” to him was broad. He and his wife, Ofelia, were a team in all things; sharing 57 years of marriage and raising five children. He was a humble man with a generous spirit.

All three of these men had one thing in common – love. They loved broadly and sincerely, deeply and with great devotion. They loved their families, their friends, and this community. May their memories be a blessing to us as we continue to love one another.

Ouisa D. Davis is an attorney at law in El Paso. She can be reached at Ouisadavis@yahoo.com.

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