Born within a migrant family traveling across the Midwest of the United States in the ‘20s, Luis was born in Laramie, Wyoming in 1930. The family settled back in Mexico when Luis was 5 years old where he was raised in San Luis Potosi. By the age of 17, Luis was living with his family of 11 along the US/Mexican border town of Laredo, Texas.
Luis married Alicia as soon as he finished Army boot camp at Fort Louis, Washington.
Luis was trained as a Medical Corps Assistant and shipped out to support his country in the Korean Conflict in 1950. At this early age, he barely knew any English but adapted quickly to work his way up the chain as a Medic in the 121st Evacuation Medical Hospital, supporting the Marine troops just behind several invasions and the ever-changing front lines. He provided emergency medical and surgery support to the wounded in the trauma surgery units. The life styles, tragedies and fun times were very reminiscent of the TV program “MASH”, except that Luis also provided personal support, language translation and compassion to the wounded Latino soldiers of all service units.
Luis served with distinction, earning five bronze stars for bravery under fire. He served his country well, but throughout these experiences he was longing instead to join his young wife who bore their first son while he remained in the thick tension of the Korean War.
By the time Luis returned to his young bride, his first son, Jose Luis, was already walking. Luis and Alicia Guel were married 53 years and are survived by 8 children and their spouses, 27 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. Luis always felt his wife, Alicia, also earned distinction of “Veterana” for having suffered in silence and prayer through those long years waiting for her soldier to return home. Alicia was laid to rest in 2003 in the “Field of Honor” veterans burial grounds at Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose, CA.
Upon completion of his military service, Luis and Alicia settled in the Bay Area where Luis elected to enter civil service in the Veteran’s Administration with 35 years of service in increasingly responsible positions in Medical, Psychiatric, and Medical Lab Research services for the Veterans Administration (VA) in Palo Alto, CA.
Luis always remembered to celebrate his Mexican heritage and culture within the VA and within the Mexican-American community, bringing food, art displays, lectures, and folkloric dancing into many public venues.
In retirement, Luis aggressively pursued his passion for investigation and research into the Aztec Calendar. He has completed extensive investigations of various theories, interpretations, written works, and hands-on site investigations throughout 40 years of dedicated research on this ancient American artifact. His book “Xiuhmolpilli, the 52-year Cycle” provides a comprehensive explanation of key features of the Calendar Stone written in easily comprehensible language using visual images left from our indigenous past. He has lectured at community outreach forums at UC Berkeley, Mission College, Foothill College, US Geological Survey, Santa Clara University, Mexican American Community Service Agency (MACSA), El Primer Biblioteca Latino, and several public elementary schools from Sunnyvale to San Jose, CA.
Upon the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the Peoples Republic of South Korea commemorated the occasion with an award for service to Luis presented to him by US Congressman Mike Honda. The medallion was forged from the barbed wire that once separated North and South Korea at the 38th parallel Demilitarized Zone.
With pride, we present Luis Guel with this year’s Carmen C. Guel Heroic Achievement Recognition Award at his 35th Annual Family Reunion in 2014.