Final Respects for Eligio “Kika” de la Garza

Local News

People from all across the Rio Grande Valley celebrated the life of one of the most influential politicians in south Texas.

For decades Eligio “Kika” de la Garza touched thousands of people from all walks of life. Many of those same people are expected to pay a final tribute to the former District 15 Congressman.

Ruben Villarreal, Former Rio Grande City Mayor said, “He was a man who defined himself not by political title, but by his actions, his words, his love for his region, and his ability to communicate with a business person, the electrician, the school teacher. His ability to communicate with everybody was absolutely astounding.”

Since the early 1950’s, de la Garza worked hard to improve the quality of life here in the Rio Grande Valley. From better health care for the poor, to fighting for farm workers’ rights, de la Garza always put his people first.

Juanita Valdez-Cox, LUPE Executive Director, “If he would hear an issue with the farm workers, he would go back to Washington D.C., try to work across the aisle with both Republicans and Democrats, and come to a solution for this Valley.”

During her time with the United Farm Workers, Cox worked closely with the former congressman. She says one of his biggest accomplishments protecting workers from the dangers of pesticides.

“That nobody had to be exposed to the dangerous chemicals while feeding this world, which is what farm workers do. And therefore, very supportive that those dangerous chemicals should not be part of the daily life of working in the fields.”

Ruben Villarreal added, “His work and his legacy lives on today. And if you see an international port of entry or if you see a school or a faucet giving out clean water, those are his legacies.”

The viewing will continue through 9:00 p.m. with a rosary at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in McAllen. The funeral mass will be on Friday, March 17 at 2:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Mission. Interment will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens also in Mission.

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