Just listening to a few notes of one of Ramiro "Snowball" de la Cruz TMs hits, are enough to bring family and friends to tears.
Fellow musician Mel Villarreal describes Snowball as, "one of the best musicians (he TMs) ever known." The McAllen composer and guitarist died of a heart attack Friday. He was 68-years-old and leaves behind his wife Fela, six children and a whole lot of talent. "Ever since I was little, I used to sing melodies without even knowing the song - it's in my veins - whatever he was I am," Crystal de la Cruz, Snowball TMs youngest daughter said.
One of the artist TMs sisters, Rosie Trevio, said her brother picked-up a guitar at the age of 17, after encouragement from his grandmother. "He was a pace-setter, Carlos Guzman, also a musician and close friend said. A guy who was setting a new trend in what was known as the little musician trying to play the guitar - without even trying - he was just gifted." Balde Muoz, who played with Snowball many years echoed Guzman and said, once he picked-up the guitar, Snowball never let it go. It was his dear companion, Muoz said.
Musician Tony Torres was one of the first to witness the talents of Snowball.
"He used a lot of chords that were very progressive, very amplified, very modern, Torres said. Only God knows how he had that talent."
Snowball landed many gigs and even played along side big names in Tejano music like Laura Canales, Los Dos Gilbertos and even Freddy fender, his family said.
However, it was with his own bands where Snowball shined the brightest. "He was a symbol to Los Fabulosos Cuatro and he was a symbol to Los Unikos," Villarreal said.
The family said Snowball was also one of the main attractions at the giant community dances they called "Gran Bailes" held years ago, every Monday night, at the McAllen Civic Center.
His niece Diana Trevio said musicians like her uncle deserve recognition and there should be a Music Hall of Fame in the Rio Grande Valley. Snowball's children said they are proud of his father TMs musical accomplishments but they will treasure the more personal memories. "He was a great father, Clarissa de la Cruz said. He was always there for all of us " all the time. Ramiro De La Cruz, Jr., also a musician, said he will miss his father playing his guitar in the late hours of the night. His wife Fela said she is also proud that her husband devoted his life to God during the last years of his life. A viewing will be held for Ramiro Snowball de la Cruz on May 24, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a Rosary at 7 p.m., at Rivera Funeral Home in McAllen. A Mass will be held on May 25, at St. Joseph the Worker Church in McAllen " time TBA " burial will follow at Roselawn Cemetery.