Tejano Association for Historical Preservation

Lorenzo de Zavala Chapter

Feb. Issue 2003



On Feb. 21, 2003, The Tejano Association for Historical Preservation is very fortunate to have Ms. Mary Lopez retired schoolteacher speak at 7:00 p.m. at the Latino Learning Center 3522 Polk, Hou. Tx. 77003.  She will provide a lecture in detail about the founding of Hidalgo Park and Mason Park.  She will also speak about Benito Zermeno, Emilio Luna, and Elias Ramirez and the roles that they played in the formation of the parks.  She will also present historical periodicals documenting the forming and dedication of the parks.  Please plan to attend this informative meeting.


The Cesar Chavez Hispanic Pride Day Parade and Celebration will take place on Saturday March 8, 2003 at 9:00 a.m. and will begin at Cesar Chavez Blvd. and Capitol.  The United States Postal Service will be recognized for issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Cesar E. Chavez, An American Hero Issue Date April 23, 2003.

A “Funday in the Park” at Hidalgo Park, at 7000 Ave. Q Houston, Texas 77011 will follow the parade.  Epic Special Events and the City of Houston will sponsor festivities from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  There will be speeches and the Mariachi Singer Sonia Ortiz will perform the Star Spangled Banner.  The following military ceremonies will also be conducted the POW-MIA Helmet, Boots, Flag ritual, Two Bell Navy Ceremony, 21 Gun Salute and a prayer will also follow.  Taps will also be performed.  The Tejano Association will have a food booth again, selling hot dogs, chips, pickles and candies.

Tejano Knights and Johnny and the Heartbreakers will provide entertainment.  There will also be entertainment by Miss Sonia Ortiz, “Las Fenix, and Miss Alicia Guzman.  The Ballet Ambassadors and Ballet Folklorico Itzaes de Talento Bilingue de Houston will also perform.  If you would like to volunteer please contact Linda Alonzo Saenz at 713-540-5449 or Richard Perez at 281-451-0488.  Please show your support for this worthy cause of educating others and celebrating the life of Cesar Chavez.


The Rudy C. Vara Building and the Rudy C. Vara Center for Technology on 1102 Telephone Rd. was officially dedicated on February 7, 2003.  Mr. Rudy C. Vara, Sr. was born Sept. 19, 1912 – Dec. 24, 2000.  He dedicated his entire life for the community and his service to his country.  He was a member of LULAC, served in WWII National Guard, served in the U.S. in the Fourth Armored Division under General George S. Patton during WWII, was involved in the political arena, participated in the Los Vaqueros Trail Ride, a founding member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Reata Subcommittee, (now called the Go Tejano Committee), Member of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation, Member of American Legion #472 and VFW Post 893, and the founder of the Junior ROTC program in HISD Middle Schools. 

The Posting of the Colors was conducted by Austin ROTC High School, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by Anthony Arcos, grandson, and Christopher Arcos, great grandson.  A moment of silence was held for the STS-107 Crew Members.  Reverend David J. Cardenas Pastor of Resurrection Parish also recited a prayer and spoke of Mr. Vara’s life.  A moving presentation of Rudy C. Vara, by Jeri De Leon ”One Life That Made a Difference,” was also presented.  It presented his life, his military involvement, and displayed his invitation to President Nixon’s inauguration and a letter of thanks from former President George Bush.  Thelma Garza, District Superintendent, welcomed and introduced the speakers.  Mrs. Esther Campos spoke of her connection to Mr. Vara and Hon. Senator Gallegos who represented his mother, Olga Gallegos, HISD School Board member also spoke eloquently of Mr. Vara and his contributions.  Dr. Kaye Stripling, General Superintendent, spoke of how proud HISD was to have a building named after Mr. Vara.  Lonnie Vara spoke movingly of his father’s life and provided the audience with visual imagery of what his father would say if we were present.  Honorable Judge Richard Vara introduced and recognized all the family members; Candy Vara and all of her children, the Rivera Cousins from Baytown, Arturo Gonzales, cousin and Atty. At law from Del Rio, Manuel Vara, brother of Mr. Vara and his son Edward both from San Antonio, Julieta and Pete Elizondo cousins from Texas City.  Honorable Judge Vara also recognized Domingo Marquez who spoke of when Mr. Vara sponsored the entire Dos Cientos Uno Squadron and brought them to Houston for a ceremony at Hidalgo Park.  This was the only Squadron, 201 that fought in WWII from Mexico.  He also spoke of Mr. Vara’s founding of the Junior ROTC program in the HISD Middle School and how Mr. Vara had served as his role model.  Mr. Marquez recognized all veterans in attendance and pointed out Mr. Jesse Campos, friend of Mr. Vara.  Ms. Marie Arcos, granddaughter also spoke of the need for community involvement and what her grandfather stood for.  She spoke of the need to get the children involved at an early age. The family also generously made presentations of flowers and financial donations to the school.  They expressed appreciation of all who were involved with the school and who made the event possible.  Ms. Linda Alonzo Saenz, President of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation, eloquently spoke of Mr. Vara and his many contributions in different areas of preservation and how he embodied civil rights.  She introduced the artist Luis Fernando and spoke of his background.  He won First Place at the Lawndale Alternative Univ. of Hou. 1984.  He was one of four artists that exhibited at Glassell School of Art in 1988.  The exhibit was curated by Patricia Gonzales and organized by Arte Publico Press.  The Rockefeller Foundation funded it.  He also exhibited in Houston ’88 1600 Smith in Cullen Center and this exhibit was sponsored by the Houston Art Dealers.   The Tejano Association for Historical Preservation commissioned a Vaquero Portrait of Mr. Vara and the Vara Family also commissioned a portrait of Mr. Vara in his military uniform by the artist, Luis Fernando.  The paintings were unveiled amidst verbal praise.  Mr. Benny C. Martinez, past President and Advisory Board Member of the Tejano Association then spoke of how tough and determined Mr. Vara was.  On one trail ride he refused to ride in the wagon and was so tired he fell asleep and fell off from riding his horse.  But Mr. Vara completed the entire trail ride to Houston on horseback.  Mr. Martinez also spoke that those who knew him referred to him as “Mi General” which in English means “My General” out of great respect and admiration.  Mr. Martinez then ended his comments with “God Bless all Veterans and God Bless Mr. Rudy Vara.” The ceremony ended with Mr. Jose Trevino introducing County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia.  She also stated that this was the first proclamation that was passed this year by Commissioner’s Court and she was proud that it was the first one, which bore her signature.  She stated Mr. Vara made it possible for her and Senator Gallegos to be elected to the positions that they have today. 

There were many distinguished guests such as Mr. Chase Untermeyer, Dick Graves, Past President of the Houston Livestock show and Rodeo, and Mrs. Graves, Dr. William Masters and Mrs. Masters, Bill and Carlos Garcia, Mrs. Marilyn Wells, representing her husband M. Wells, President of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Al Martinez of LULAC #60 and the Go Tejano Committee, Hon. Judge Armando Rodriguez, Paula Arnold, ex HISD School Board Member, Felix Fraga, ex HISD School Board Member and ex City of Houston Councilman, Sue Ann Payne of HISD, Constable Jack Abercia, Precinct 1, Chief J.C. Mosier, Precinct 1, Constable Butler, Precinct 7, Chief Curtis Thompson, Precinct 7, Chief John Ray Harrison, of the District Attorney’s Office, Clark Baker, CEO of the YMCA, and Former U.S. Marshal, Art Contreras.  Richard Perez, and Margarito Vasquez both veterans and Board Members of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation also attended.  Various HISD principals from the East End District were also in attendance.  The dedication ceremony was very moving and a great day for Vara Family, HISD staff, students and the community.


The Juan N. Seguin Elementary School Dedication Ceremony was held on September 20, 2002 at 10:00 a.m.  The new school is located at 5905 Waltrip and is part of the Houston Independent School District.  The dedication ceremony began with the posting of the colors by Jones High School JROTC Sponsor Captain David Shetter.  The fifth grade students of Seguin Elementary led by Erica and Jessica Dow said the Pledge of Allegiance.  Ms. Rhelda Ball, Principal welcomed the dignitaries, Seguin Descendants and special guests sat against a backdrop of artwork representing the Alamo.  Those in attendance were Laurie Bricker, President HISD Board of Education, Kaye Stripling, Superintendent of Schools, Linda Whitly, South Central District Area Superintendent, Jose Trevino, East Area District Superintendent, Olga Gallegos, HISD Board of Education, Sylvia Garcia, Houston City Controller, Mrs. Melissa Noriega, (wife of State Rep. Rick Noriega), principals of the South and South East Districts of HISD, Mr. Benny C. Martinez, President of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation and Mr. R. Whitly of Project Grad.  Ms. Olga Gallegos, HISD Board thanked everyone for being there and was very appreciative of all who had made the opening day possible.  Mrs. Esther Campos also gave a word of thanks, “felicidades.”  Mrs. Whitly described Juan Seguin and his mother’s contribution to education in early colonial San Antonio and spoke of his contributions to the formation to Texas.  Mrs. Noriega stressed the role that the leaders play as role models for the children.  Mr. Benny C. Martinez, President of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation presented Ms. Ball with the 610 SE Juan N. Seguin Interchange Sign and the Juan N. Seguin Blvd. sign which leads to the road to the San Jacinto Monument, compliments of the Tx. Hwy Dept.  He stated that Hon. State Rep. Rick Noriega had introduced legislation in the House and was then sponsored in the Senate by Hon. Sen. Mario Gallegos, which resulted in the rededication of Juan N. Seguin Blvd.  Mr. Martinez also recognized Luis Fernando, artist and the contribution of Rolando Romo, first Tejano Association for Historical Preservation President and member of the HISD School Naming Committee. Mr. Martinez and Linda Alonzo-Saenz, Treasurer of the Tejano Association for Historical Preservation then unveiled the portrait of Juan N. Seguin, which was painted by the artist Luis Fernando.  Mr. Martinez then briefly added that just as Juan N. Seguin followed his military leader, that now in times of our perilous troubles, the country is looking for direction from our leader President Bush, and whatever direction he will take that the county will stand by him.  He then added that “America stands for freedom; America stands for Justice and America stands for Righteousness.”  He also added as President of the GI Forum he was wearing his military cap and he saluted the portrait of Lt. Col. Juan N. Seguin.

Ms. Rhelda Ball, Principal then assembled the students of Juan N. Seguin Elementary, sat in a rocking chair and read an allegorical tale of “The Spyglass, A Book About Faith”.  She compared the King who had a vision, with Juan N. Seguin who had a vision of Texas.  She then passed out books as remembrances to the many people who had helped her with the opening and dedication ceremony. 

The audience, special guests and descendants then followed Ms. Ball to the unveilings of two murals by Jesse Sifuentez, a Spanish teacher of Austin High School.  The artist captured Juan N. Seguin’s spirit as he was racing out of the Alamo to plead for help. 

Ms. Ball commented after the unveiling that Seguin was the only Tejano who fought both at the Alamo and at San Jacinto.  She then proceeded to lead the guests on tours of Seguin Elementary, which ended the dedication.  All appreciated the hard work of HISD.


The 2003 Battle of San Jacinto Symposium will take place on April 25, 2003 at the Houston Club.  The presenters will be:  James Crisp, Assistant Department Head

of History North Carolina State University.  He is currently working on editing a new translation of the memoirs of the Mexican Ltn. Colonel de la Pena and of Herman Ehrenberg of the Texas Revolutionary Army. 

Dr. Jesus Velasco-Marquez who is a Professor of International studies at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico.  A few of his published works are “La Guerra con Estados Unidos”, “La Cultura en Mexico (1821-1850)” and “La Guerra del 47 La Opinion Publica en Mexico (1845-1848).”

Richard Bruce Winders, Historian and Curator of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas received his Ph.D. from Texas Christian University in 1994.  His area of expertise is in the area of early American Military and the Southwest.  His publications include, “Mr. Polk’s Army:  The American Military Experience in the Mexican War,” “The United States and Mexico at War:  Nineteenth Century Expansionism and Conflict,” and “Crisis in the Southwest:  The United States, Mexico, and the Struggle over Texas.”

Madge Thornall Roberts, the great-granddaughter of Sam Houston.  Ms. Roberts taught for more than thirty-five years and published “Star of Destiny.”  She has degrees from Southwest University and Trinity University.

Randolph “Mike” Campbell, Ph.D. is the Regent’s Professor of History at North Texas State University.  He has written numerous books and articles

and is a past president of the Texas State Historical Association.  He is a member of the Southern Historical Association, the East Texas Historical Association, and has served on the Summerlee Commission on Texas History.  The Tejano Assoc. for Historical Pres. will be exhibiting artifacts during this symposium.  If you have something of historical value, please contact Loretta Martinez Williams @ 713-673-1418.

The Preliminary Sponsors of the Third Annual “Battle of San Jacinto” Symposium are the San Jacinto Historical Advisory Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Battleship Texas Foundation, Harris County Historical Commission, Sons of the Republic of Texas, Tejano Association for Historical Preservation, Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM, Oddfellows, San Jacinto Battleground Association, San Jacinto Museum of History Association, Texas State Historical Association, Houston Public Library, San Jacinto Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Texas Navy Association and Holland Lodge #1.  If you are interested in attending the symposium the fee is 35.00.  A patron party (fee of $100.00, the symposium and luncheon is included) will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Chase Tower.  Patrons will be able to meet the speakers and representatives of the sponsoring organizations.  Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be served.  For more information call 281-496-1488.


On April 26, 2003 The 167th San Jacinto Commemorative Ceremony and Re-enactment will take place at the San Jacinto Monument.  Ron Stone will emcee again this year.  The Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the Re-enactment will begin at 3:00 p.m.  For more information regarding the San Jacinto Ceremony visit the website at http://www.SanJacinto2003.org  For more information regarding the re-enactment visit the “Texian Legacy Association” website at http://www.texianlegacy.com  The Battleship Texas will have a 55th anniversary ceremony at 1:00 p.m.   Mexican Soldados, Texas Army and early pioneers

will be portrayed by historians and re-enactors.  There will be an educational re-enactment of the Battle at San Jacinto and also living historian exhibits.  Food vendors will be available on site.


On April 21, 2003, The Tejano Association for Historical Preservation for the 2nd year will place two wreaths at San Jacinto at 3:00 p.m. in honor of the Mex. Soldiers who died defending their country and the Tx. Soldiers who died fighting for freedom.


A Genealogy Fair will be held Saturday, April 12, 2003 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The Alexander Hodge Chapter #49 Sons of the American Revolution will host it.

This is an event that will bring the genealogically minded public together to learn about genealogy through local historical organizations and a series of speakers.

The event will be held at 226 Matlage Way, near the Imperial Pure Cane Sugar Mill off Alternate 90, and across from the Sugar Land Post Office.  Numerous genealogical organizations are going to be represented and we encourage anyone with an interest in their ancestry to come to the fair and learn how they can begin to research their family tree.  Drinks and snacks will be sold by the Alexander Hodge Chapter #49 S.A.R.  Admission is free.  For more information contact Lance Salge at salge@Texas.net

The Tejano Monument Statuette is available for sale of a limited edition by the Artist Armando Hinojosa for $3000.00.  All Proceeds will benefit the Tejano Monument.  For information please contact Dr. Cayetano Barrera at CEBDLG@aol.com

For information about the Tejano Monument project visit the website http://www.tejanos.com or send a tax-deductible gift to The Tejano Monument, Inc. P.O. Box 2948 McAllen, Texas 78502-2948   This is a worthy project, dedicating a Tejano Monument at the Capital in Austin, Tx. which will be a lasting tribute to the explorers, pioneers, ranchers and missionaries that settled Texas.

Sarah Wormald, researcher of Home and Garden Television Series, “If Walls Could Talk” will be visiting Houston in March.  The show is about old homes in which the owners have discovered artifacts or historic homes (built before 1930) with a story to tell.  She would like to hear from residents if they feel their home may qualify to be aired on the show.  For more information call Sarah Wormald at 303-712-3321 Fax # 303-486-3881 or email her at



Congratulations to our new officers:

Linda Alonzo Saenz, President                                  Richard Perez, 2nd Vice President

Loretta Martinez Williams, 1st Vice President             Dr. Emilio Sarabia, Advisory Board Member

Yvette Banuelos, Secretary/Treasurer                       Margarito C. Vasquez, Board Member

Benny C. Martinez, Advisory Board Member


If you have suggestions regarding the newsletter please email the editor, Loretta Martinez Williams at latejana3000@aaahawk.com