Brownsville's former and only female mayor, Blanca Vela, passes away

City of Brownsville

POSTED: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 4:29pm

UPDATED: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 9:29am

The only female mayor the City of Brownsville has ever had, passed away this morning, Blanca Vela died at home as she neared the age of 79.

She was Brownsville's mayor from 1999 to 2003. She is the mother of Congressman Filemon Vela, Jr. and was married to the late U.S. District Court Judge Filemon Vela who passed away ten years ago.

Visitation for Blanca Vela will be at the Darling-Mouser Funeral Home and is set for Friday afternoon with a rosary that evening and a mass tentatively set for Saturday.

Congressman Vela released a statement on the passing of his mother saying, “Today, I am saddened that my mother, Blanca Sanchez Vela, passed away at her home in Brownsville, Texas,” said Congressman Filemon Vela. “My mother provided a loving home and a strong upbringing for her three children: Sylvia, Ralph and myself. She deeply loved my father, the late Filemon Vela, and supported him during his career as an attorney and a Federal judge. Later in life, she was blessed by six grandchildren each of whom she loved dearly.

My mother not only loved her family, she loved the Brownsville community and worked to make Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley a much better place. She served on the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (PUB) and co-founded the Brownsville Public Library Foundation. She became the first female Mayor of Brownsville, when she was elected in 1999. My parents’ commitment to public service encouraged me to run for elected office. I am blessed to have had her in my life for 51 years.”

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