Son mourns loss of parents killed after being swept out to sea

Richard and Nancy Culpepper were in Cabo San Lucas for their 66th anniversary

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - An elderly couple washed into the ocean in Cabo San Lucas has been identified as the retired, former owners of Culpepper's Cleaners by their family.

Richard Culpepper, 86, and Nancy Culpepper, 83, were walking on a beach in Cabo San Lucas Wednesday evening when they were hit by a large wave and swept into the water. Nancy Culpepper was pulled from the water by a Navy boat, but died upon arrival at the Navy pier. Richard Culpepper was recovered from the water, but he had already died.

"At first you're in denial but then realize that it happened. And just been trying to cope with it since," said their son, Jess Culpepper.

Culpepper said his parents liked to travel, whether it was to Europe or to beach locations like Cabo San Lucas where they planned to go fishing and shopping.

"It seemed like most trips were either hunting or sight-seeing and shopping. So this was a compromise for them," Culpepper said.

It was supposed to be an anniversary trip for the couple who would have celebrated 66 years together Friday.

"There's never a good time for a tragedy," Culpepper said. "We just have to live with it."

The couple had been the owners of Culpepper's Cleaners, which has three San Antonio locations. Though the business was in San Antonio, Culpepper said his parents lived in Quihi.

After decades in the business, he said they handed the reins to the next generation of the family.

"My dad was very active," Culpepper said. "He retired from the dry-cleaning business and immediately became a rancher and a farmer."

When he thinks about them now though, it's not as business people. Culpepper thinks back to when he was a younger child and they were first and foremost his parents - and good ones at that.

"Everything that I am today I owe to them," he said.

Culpepper said his siblings are in Mexico making arrangements to bring back his parents' bodies. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

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