Deacon Ildefonso R. “Poncho” DeLeón died unexpectedly on July 6 at the age of 71. He was ordained on Dec. 10, 1983, and served for 35 years at St. Maria Goretti Parish in New Orleans.
Deacon DeLeón grew up in the remote, high desert town of Marathon, Texas, where his first language was Spanish.
He was the son of Crispín DeLeón Sr. and Fermana Ramos DeLeón.
Deacon DeLeón was valedictorian of his graduating class at Marathon High School and earned a full scholarship to Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas, where he excelled in chemistry and math.
During the Vietnam War, he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Marines. He returned from military service to work with a community food co-op, where he met his future wife, Margaret Fennelly, from Liverpool, England. She died in 2001.
Deacon DeLeón had three children – Esteban, Marisa and Alejandro. He attended graduate school at Texas A&M in Bryan, Texas, and the family moved to New Orleans in 1976, where he worked as a research chemist at the Center for Bio Organic Studies at the University of New Orleans.
He was an expert in a scientific procedure known as mass spectrometry.
In 1983, Deacon DeLeón was ordained to the permanent diaconate and served at St. Maria Goretti Parish for 35 years.
Funeral services were held July 27 at St. Maria Goretti Church.