Born: May 30, 1950

Place of Birth: San Antonio, TX

Death: July 5, 2012

Place of Death: San Antonio, TX

This memorial provided by:
McCullough Location
San Antonio, TX

Steven Saldana

May 30, 1950  -  July 5, 2012
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Life Legacy

Steven Graham Saldana was born on May 30, 1950 to San Antonio Postmaster John Jesse Saldaña, Sr. and Verginia Mae Graham, a proud 14th generation Canary Island descendant and lifetime member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. He was an adoring husband, a devoted son, a caring father and grandfather, and a tireless servant leader to the community of San Antonio that he loved so much. He will be remembered for his seemingly endless capacity to give of himself and to change lives.

Steve attended St. Mary Magdalene’s Elementary School and St. Anthony High School; he graduated from St. Mary’s University with a degree in history in 1971. He worked at Sears Roebuck for 22 years, perfecting the art of “putting the customer first” that would later come to define the way in which he helped thousands of San Antonians gain better lives. When he retired from Sears, he became the administrative director of Oblate Renewal Center and then the executive director of Christian Senior Services, where he led the city’s Meals on Wheels program and cared for those with Alzheimer’s.

In 1998, Saldana was appointed the president and CEO of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of San Antonio where over fourteen years he built one of the largest social service systems in the United States. Dedicating himself tirelessly to helping the poor, the elderly, immigrants and refugees, his leadership allowed Catholic Charities to grow from an organization with a budget of $900,000 and six programs to a 22 program agency with a budget of more than $14 million. A lifelong lover of Superman, Steve became well known throughout the city for always being on the lookout for ways to help. When a heat wave swept the city, his agency took the lead in offering fans to the elderly so that they wouldn’t die from heat stroke. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Steve was named the coordinator of the archdiocesan hurricane relief efforts. He believed passionately in finding the most vulnerable people and offering them sanctuary. Under his leadership Catholic Charities became the nation’s largest resettlement program from refugees who do not have relatives in the United States, resettling more than 800 refugees a year, many of them from countries at war.

Steve was a pillar in the community, also serving as the director of social services for the Archdiocese and as a member of the boards of directors of Seton Home, St. Peters and St. Joseph's Home, and Bexar County Detention Ministries. His most recent appointments include being the chairperson of the Bexar County Extension Service Advisory Board, the vice chair of the City/County Joint Committee on Senior Transportation, Oblate School of Theology and secretary of the City of San Antonio’s Westside Development Corporation.

Yet as much as he was a leader in his community, he never lost a child-like innocence, a love of the beautiful, and a tenderness and attention to those close to him. He coached his children’s sports teams, lead their scout troops, and read them Winnie the Pooh at night. He delighted in playing superhero action figures with his sons, and traveled across the world to hold his grandsons on the day they were born. He had a unique gift for finding miracles in the details of everyday life, in sunsets and butterflies, in a kiss from his wife, a piece of cherry pie for breakfast, a coke ice cream float, in the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow. He was loved and he loved until the end.

The family would like to thank Dr. Joseph Holahan for his excellent care and the kindness he showed to all of us on Steve’s journey; and Dr. Helen Goldberg for her personal attention to our family. The phenomenal care of nurses on 8th floor made this journey a little easier, and more recently, the 4th floor nurses – thank you. Thanks to the staff at Catholic Charities for Stepping Up for Steve and making him so proud. And thanks to the thousands who shared their love of him through prayer.

Steve is survived by his wife Toni-Marie Van Buren, children Lisa of Eugene, OR; Steven Jr. and wife Vanesa Medina Ibanez of England; Stephanie and husband Frederic Masson, of Jerusalem, and Robert of Long Beach, CA; and grandsons Joseph and Sebastian Steven and his Uncle Joseph Saldana. He was the second oldest of 8 children, John Jesse, Jr. (April), Kathleen Colunga (Ricky), Theodore David (Sheila), Ginger Kemmy (Tom), Eileen Gonzalez (Francisco), Marcia Dole (LTC Mark), and Kimberly Moehlmann (LtCol Joseph); and numerous nieces and nephews who will all miss him.

The family is receiving guests at 4 p.m. Monday July 9, 2012 at Porter Loring Funeral Home,1101 McCullough; with a rosary at 7 pm. Mass and celebration of his life will be Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at Oblate School of Theology, Immaculate Conception Chapel, 285 Oblate Drive. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contribution to Steve’s fan program: Project Cool, c/o Catholic Charities, 202 West French Place, SAT 78212. Or please consider donating blood or platelets.