Tony Fairlee Guerra (1929 — 2020)
Following a lengthy illness, Benson native Tony Guerra, passed away peacefully at his Valencia, California home on March 11, 2020. He was 90 years old.
Tony, the first of eight children born to Susie and Manuel Guerra, arrived in this world at the family home across the street from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, on September 21, 1929.
As a youth, Tony attended Benson public schools where he excelled academically and athletically. In high school he was a four-sport standout, to include playing a key position on Benson’s state championship football team. Immediately after graduation from BUHS in 1948, Tony left home for the economically greener pastures of California. He remained a Californian for the next 70-plus years where he met and married his late, beloved wife Jean King. Their marriage was blessed with three devoted and highly accomplished children: Mark, Kathi, and Grant.
In 1951, duty called and Tony was drafted into the US Army. He served a two-year enlistment including a 13-month combat tour in the Republic of Korea, quickly rising in rank as a Non-Commissioned Officer. Upon discharge, Tony returned to California where he worked as a draftsman for aircraft manufacturer Lockheed — while simultaneously attending night school at Los Angeles City College. He then became a Hollywood-based communications specialist for the Pacific Bell Telephone Company.
When the Bell corporation was broken up in the early 1980s Tony opted to remain with parent company AT&T as a Quality Assurance engineer and transferred work and residence from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay area.
After retirement from AT&T and following the death of his second wife Carol, Tony returned to Southern California to be nearer to daughter Kathi who faithfully and lovingly nurtured him during his final years.
Over the years, Tony was a frequent visitor to Benson where the nucleus of his family and many lifelong friends still reside. His capacity for recall of events and youthful experiences was truly phenomenal.
Tony was preceded in death by his parents, a younger sister (Rita) who died in infancy, and his two spouses, Jean and Carol.
He is survived by his three children: Mark Guerra, Scottsdale, AZ; Kathi Belfiore (Tony), Valencia, CA; and Grant Guerra (Paula), Danville, CA. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren, one great grandchild and six brothers and sisters, including Benson residents Richard Guerra, Georgianna Stevenson, Betty Guerra, and Donna (Howard) Lowe; Tucson resident Bob Guerra (Patti); and Alpharetta, GA resident Bill Guerra (Orapin).
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, firm dates for Tony’s Benson Homecoming, including funeral and remembrance services, have not been finalized.