David Torres Padilla was one of KAVU’s Military Heroes of the Month

Remembering David Torres Padilla

David Torres Padilla, 95, passed away peacefully on February 24th, 2021 after a short illness.

David was born and raised in Victoria, Texas to Juan and Gregoria Padilla on April 25, 1925. He enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 19 during the height of World War II serving with the 28th Infantry Division. After 24 years of service, David retired at the rank of Staff Sergeant, having earned many awards and commendations.

During his service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, Staff Sergeant Padilla served with distinction. In 1944, in the Battle of the Bulge, David and other members of his unit were captured and held as prisoners of war for more than four months. David also had the honor of driving for General Omar Bradley during the inauguration of President Eisenhower. In addition to his military service, upon retirement in California, David continued to serve his country as a civil servant for 20 years. After retirement from the Civil Service, he returned to his hometown of Victoria, Texas. David was a patriotic American who loved his country and was active in many events and parades honoring Veterans and POW’s.

David was an avid dancer and loved watching both football and wrestling. He also enjoyed studying the languages of Japanese and Korean. David took great pride in the successes of his children and grandchildren and followed their educations and careers with pleasure.

David is survived by the mother of his children Youko Padilla of Seaside, California, his children Raymond (Leslie) Padilla of Salem, Oregon, Daniel Padilla of Kansas City, Missouri, and Jeanie (Roger) Repp of Aptos, California, as well as his grandchildren Dana Sandman of West River, Maryland, Jared (Rissa) Sandman of Salinas, California, Tyler Padilla of Kansas City, Missouri and Ryan Repp of Aptos, California. He is also survived by his sister Otilia Solis of Houston, Texas. He is predeceased by his daughter, Katherine Sandman of Monterey, California and sister Delphine Flores of Victoria, Texas. The extended Padilla, Repp and Sandman families wish to express their most sincere thanks and appreciation to Mary Gonzales of Victoria, Texas David’s companion and friend of 27 years, for her loving and supportive care.

The family also wishes to thank Dr. Mehran Nezhad for the many years of care and Harbor Hospice for their kindness and compassion with a special thanks to Brenda and Rachael.

David’s family welcomes all who knew him or who wish to pay their respects to join them at Angel Lucy’s Funeral Home for Visitation Wednesday March 17, 2021 from 10:00am-12:00pm, Mass at Our Lady of Sorrow at 1:00pm, followed by gravesite at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.

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A few interesting facts about David T. Padilla:

David Padilla volunteered to join the U.S. Army at the age of 18 in 1943 but was rejected because he didn’t meet the weight requirement. He was told to try again in six months and to eat lots of bananas. David loved telling this story. David Padilla’s only focus during his teen years was to join the Army and serve his country.

David Padilla met General Omar Bradley in Germany as he was his driver. After Germany, David lost contact with General Bradley. Upon receiving orders to Virginia, to David’s surprise, General Omar Bradley had requested David to be his personal driver at the Pentagon. David Padilla was General Bradley’s driver in the inauguration of President Eisenhower in 1953.

In 1952, David Padilla, with his former wife, Youko Padilla, upon a return to visit his hometown of Victoria, made the front page news in an article entitled “War Bride Arrives in Victoria.”