Efren “El Nene” Cruz, 78, of Lebanon, passed away Friday, March 27, 2020 at The Bob Fryer & Family Inpatient Center in Mt. Joy, PA. He was the husband of Brunilda Cruz-Velez with whom he would have celebrated 55 years of marriage this coming July 24th.

Born in Las Marias, Puerto Rico on March 3, 1942, Efren was a son of the late Rufino Maximo Cruz and Emilia Irizarry. He was a proud truck driver who spent over 45 years on the road; driving over 3 million miles (40 years with Yellow Freight and several years with Fox Transport) during his career. He never forgot where he came from and always shared fond memories of his beloved hometown of Las Marias and the “Fiesta de La China”. He loved listening to old songs on the radio, watching the news on TV, constantly talking and making friends wherever he went. He was genuinely loved by many and will be remembered for his wisdom and gigantic heart. He was always there to help his family and friends with anything they needed. He would gladly give the shirt off his back for anyone, even those he didn’t know. He loved the Philadelphia Phillies, riding the city bus and telling jokes. He often laughed even before being able to share the joke. He was an avid storyteller and often repeated tales he enjoyed the best while others listened countless times in amusement. His greatest pride & joy and biggest accomplishment was his family. He wanted everyone to study and get an education as it was very important to him. He would beam proudly anytime he attended a graduation. He was also a proud military father, brother, and grandfather.

In addition to his wife Brunilda, he is survived by four children: Dale Cruz and his wife Sarah, Jose Cruz and his wife, Barbara, Becky Cruz and Alba Cruz-Cintron and her husband Julio; 16 grandchildren: Lesly, Dale Allen Jr. Daniel, Frisco, Hector, Luis, Kelly, Joseph, Carissa, Sydney, Nancy, Jose, Laila, Erica, Derrick, and Cristian; 21 great grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; a brother, Roberto Cruz; three sisters, Elba Cruz, Ana Cruz, and Emilia Cruz; many nieces, nephews, and extended family members. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Maximo and two sisters Benita and Nilda.

Funeral services will be held privately. Interment will take place at Kimmerlings Cemetery in Lebanon. Thompson Funeral Home, Inc. is entrusted with the arrangements. Please share your memories with the family at our online guest book at thompsonfuneralhomelebanon.com. In lieu of flowers please send donations to truckersfinalmile.org in his honor.