Balloon release held for slain Odessa T-shirt shop owner

Balloon release held for slain Odessa T-shirt shop owner

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Pepe's T-shirt owner Joe Valenzuela was murdered early last week. Saturday his family, friends and Odessa community members who knew him, gathered to pay their respects.

"He just never thought bad of anyone," said Valenzuela's niece Sara Tarango. "He just always thought the best of people."

After the death of Joe Valenzuela, many of his family and friends were slow to react.

One of his old business neighbors, Maxine Amador, organized a balloon release, for those who won't have the chance to make his funeral all the way in Alpine.

"I felt like this is something that I needed to do," said Amador. "Because a lot of people did know him around here. I just felt like it was something that needed to be done for the community, to get together. Whether it's family members that wouldn't have been able to make it or someone like me who wouldn't have been able to make the drive."

An old employee of his, and the man who actually made the famous Pepe's sign, Ricky Munoz, will be taking his old equipment to open a new store in Andrews in honor of Valenzuela.

"So that's what I'm doing," said Munoz. I will have the business in Andrews, and I'm going to put this sign in front of the shop in memory of Pepe's T-Shirts and Joe Valenzuela. "

But no matter who you ask, there seems to be a common theme.

"He gave everybody guidance," said Tarango. "Anybody that knew him, if they wanted something or they needed something, he was always there."

And what exactly would Pepe say if he were here?

"So he would be like, all of this for me? What did I do to deserve all this," said Tarango.

And what would she tell him?

"You deserve every bit of it," said Tarango.

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