Our father, grandfather and papa Sal, whom we loved and adored, passed away peacefully while he slept, on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2004. He went to be with our Nana Lilly and our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Sal was born on Feb. 21, 1921, to Jose and Rosa Briceno in Berlino, N.M. As a child, he lived in Montrose, Colo., until moving to Montana in 1926. His family lived and worked the farms from Hysham to Park City.
In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He also fought in The Battle of The Bulge in Central Europe, where he was seriously wounded. He received three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for the battles he served in. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
In 1947, at a Mexican dance, he would meet and win the heart of his one true love, Lilly Ortiz. They were married Aug. 22, 1947. Together, they would share 54 years of marriage and build a strong family full of love and faith. They had four children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Sal worked as a Yellow cab driver and manager for 30 years. Until the time of his death, he worked for his good friend Dave Sanchez as a foreman. He enjoyed bowling and was the Montana State President of the Bowling Association for a short time. He was in league bowling until his death. He enjoyed fishing and hunting with his two sons. He spent his spare time fixing lawnmowers and taking care of his yard. His greatest joy was watching his grandsons and great-grandsons play football, baseball and especially basketball. He was a strong man and instilled hard work, love and faith into his family. He was always more than willing to give a helping hand to those in need, expecting nothing in return. He had a beautiful singing voice and a deep love for Mexican music, especially when it came to dancing. He will be greatly missed at mass each Sunday and by all who had the opportunity to know him. We couldn't wait to see what color suit Grandpa Sal would buy next. As he was well known for his flashy suits and colorful shoes.
Sal is preceded in death by his loving wife, Lilly; his youngest son, Robert; his parents; his brothers, Jose and Willy Briceno; and sister Patsy Briceno. Sal is survived by his sisters, Vera Armendarez, Pauline (Val) Deavila, Dora Castro; his brother, Vincent Briceno, all of Billings; his sister Julia Guerrero of Crystal City, Texas; brother-in-law Raymond (Sydia) Ortiz of Billings; his son, Jesse Briceno and his daughter Shirlee Briceno of Billings; and his daughter Barbie (Gene) Lewis of Charleston, S.C.; daughter Marie Gandara of Billings; his grandchildren, Jason (Chesna) Briceno, Vinnie (Jesse) Sanchez, Patrick Castro, Angie Castro, all of Billings; Brandy Sanchez and Brandon Sanchez of James Island, S.C.; his great-grandchildren, Beau, Quinn, Jett, Nick, Brice, Sebastian, and a new baby due in October; many special nieces and nephews, cousins, and lifelong, loved friends, Pita Alva and family.
God Bless You, Papa Sal, We love you.
Rosary will be held Thursday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m., at Smith's Downtown Chapel. Funeral Mass will be Friday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Burial to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery. Gathering to follow at Our Lady of Guadalupe.