Saturday, 29 January 2011 18:48

(Tejano music lost another pioneer today when news drifted throughout the Southwest that Tony 'Ham' Guerrero, founder of the famed Tortilla Band, passed away today (1/29/2011) from complications from pneumonia. He was 66. Our correspondent Ramon Hernandez files this report.)

As most Tortilla Factory fans already know, on Monday, January 10, the founder of this perennial

1970s Grammy nominated Tejano group suffered a heart attack.

Funeral arrangements: 7 p.m. rosary set Tuesday in Austin at St. Louis Catholic Church, 7601 Burnet Road. Memorial service set there 3 p.m. Wednesday.(512) 454-0384. Guerrero was born Feb. 20, 1944

Following the cardiac arrest, Tony “Ham” Guerrero went into a coma and on Sunday night the family was told he had a slim chance of making it.

“After the doctor told us there was a 90 percent chance of him not waking up, my head was spinning with years of beautiful memories and I could not phantom the thought of losing my father,” his son, Alfredo Antonio Guerrero, said. “I was devastated and all I could do was cry.”

However, God does answers prayer and the following morning, medics are stunned to see he had come out of the stage four coma.

“I believe it was because of his fans prayers and the power of God. The first sign that he was not ready to leave was on Thursday, Jan. 13, when a man from our church came and said a gentle prayer over his head and tears started coming down his eyes, so he was able to hear us. This is why we had been putting salsa and jazz to his ears – to stimulate him.”

On Monday morning, Alfredo says that his father only stared at them (Alfredo, his mother Norma;
his brothers Sergio and Sean; and his sisters, Laura and Cherith), but that was miracle in view of the
earlier prognosis.

“He was then smiling and giving kisses; and starting to breathe on his own,” Alfredo said. “And on
Friday he was able to breathe on his own and they removed the oxygen tubes.

“He’s now in heaven,” his son, teary-eyed and choked up with emotion, said as Ham was being picked up by the coroner and transferred to the morgue.

The famed legendary trumpet player was still at the North Austin Medical Center at 12221 N. Mo-Pac Expressway, south of W. Palmer Lane when Ham caught pneumonia, had breathing problems at a little after 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 29, he breathed his last breath.

Tomorrow January 30, the Austin Latin Music Association will still present the scheduled Tribute to “Ham” Guerrero and the Legacy of Tortilla Factory at the H & H Ballroom – 4402 Brandt Rd, Austin, Texas – from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tons of fans are expected to attend, but for a young generation not familiar with this Grammy nominated band, they should attend for an eye-opening enjoyable educational experience. The Dallas-based Latin Express and Mariachi Jalisco will also perform.

Rubén Ramos, Augustine Ramírez, Johnny Hernández, Joe Bravo, Manuel “Cowboy’ Donley, Frank Gómez, Arturo “Sauce” González, Albert López, Kiddo Zapata, Renee Sandoval, Anthony Hernández plus many others – as the list keeps growing – will also be performing in this event featuring Jerry Avila, Manny “El Picante” García and Robert Chávez as rotating masters of ceremonies.

For additional information, call (512) 282-1143.