Laura Chase Stewart

Laura Chase Stewart of Kenedy, Texas born on December 24, 1923 in Derby, CT to Alvin Chase and Ruth Wiggin Chase passed away on Sunday, August 30, 2020 at the age of 96. Mrs. Stewart was preceded in death by her husband John W. Stewart Jr. in March of 2018 and son, John W.  Stewart III and a brother, Phil Chase. She is survived by her sons: David (Kathy) Stewart of Kenedy, TX , Philip W. Stewart of San Antonio, TX ; sisters: Ruth (Bob) Greer of Boise, ID and Dottie (Mel) Decker of  Sparrowbush, NY; grandchildren; great grandchildren; and other relatives. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 6:00p.m. to 7:30p.m. at Eckols Chapel. Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 10:00a.m. at Kenedy Cemetery with the Rev. Tim Williams officiating. Pallbearers: Jeffrey Stewart, Phil Stewart, Bill Gregory, Brad Yeater, Kyle Franka, Jason Ethridge. Memorials may be made to the Karnes County Humane Society.

Tomasa Diaz

Tomasa Diaz, of Kenedy, TX born on December 21, 1925 in Kenedy, TX to Zacharias Diaz and Celestina Vela Diaz passed away on August 27, 2020 at the age of 94. Tomasa is preceded in death by her daughter: Olga Gonzales Herrera in January of 1994 and her son Robert “Bobby” Gonzales in June of 1979 and grandchildren: Eunice and Evelyn Gonzales. Survivors include her daughter: Sylvia (Dan) Colin of The Woodlands, TX; sons: Eugene Gonzales of Kenedy, TX, Roland(Irene) Gonzales of Corpus Christi, TX, Roy (Mary Helen) Gonzales of San Antonio, TX; 15 Grandchildren; 29 Great Grandchildren; 4 Great Great Grandchildren; sister: Amelia Contreras of Kenedy, TX; son-in-law: Raymond Herrera;and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 30, 2020 from 5:00p.m. to 9:00p.m. with a Rosary to be recited at 7:00p.m. at Eckols Chapel. Funeral services will be held on Monday, August 31, 2020 at 10:00a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church with Rev. Norbert Hermann officiating. Interment in Loma Alta Cemetery. Pallbearers: Gino, Bobby, Michael, Woody, Robert and Raymond.

Audelia Rodriguez Garcia

Audelia Rodriguez Garcia, of Kenedy, TX born in Charco, TX to Ireneo Rodriguez and Vicenta Arenas passed away on August 20, 2020 at her residence at the age of 92. Mrs. Rodriguez was preceded in death by her husband Saragosa Garcia in December of 2019. She was a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church and loved to garden. She leaves behind two daughters: Lydia Garcia (Michael Weast) of Poteet, TX and Ofelia Torres (Jose Luis) of Kenedy, TX; sons: Joe (Sylvia Cuellar) Garcia, Karnes City, TX, Freddy (Mary Helen), Garcia of Runge, TX and David (Rebecca) Garcia; of Schroeder, TX; sister: Amelia Meza, Bovina, TX; 11 Grandchildren; 20 Great Grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives. A Holy Rosary will be recited Monday, August 24, 2020 at 7PM in the Eckols Chapel.  Funeral Mass will be celebrated Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 10AM at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church with the Rev. Norbert Hermann officiating.  Interment will follow in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Kenedy, TX.  Serving as Pallbearers: Joe Garcia, Freddy Garcia, David Garcia, Joshua Garcia, Jose Fernando Torres, and Luis Dimas Torres.

Pastor Jessie Rios

Pastor Jesus Jeff “Jessie” Rios, Age 58 of Runge, TX passed away on Saturday, August 15, 2020 in San Antonio, TX. Jesus was born on April 8, 1962 in Runge, TX to the late Jose Maria and Racquela Ramirez Rios. He was the Pastor of Church on the Rock in Pettus, TX a loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to many. He married Donna Kay Charles on April 27, 1980 in Choate, TX.

He is preceded in death by his parents Jose Maria and Racquela Ramirez Rios.

He is survived by his wife Donna Kay Charles Rios of Runge, TX; daughter, Kayla Rios and spouse Lee Ann Farias of Kenedy; sons, Jessie Rios of Runge, TX, Jimmy (Irene) Rios of Runge, TX, Ricky Charles of Runge, TX; sisters, Rosa Garcia, Norma Carrasco, Corina Meza, Susana Meza; brothers, Tony Rios, Mark Rios and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.

A Payer Service will be held Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 7PM in the Eckols Chapel. Services will be Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 10AM at The Church on the Rock in Pettus, TS with the Pastor Robert L. Charles officiating. Interment will follow in the Runge Latin Cemetery in Runge, TX.

Noelia M. Velasquez

Noelia Velasquez of Kenedy, TX was born in Saltillo Coahuila, Mexico to the late Lucio Martinez Oyervides and Josefa Mendoza Silva on April 21, 1950. She emigrated along with her husband into the United States of America in 1970, they arrived in Kenedy, Texas to be pastors of a small church for five years. Alongside her husband Rev. Honorio Velazquez, Sr. they founded Elim Pentecostal Church in Karnes City, Texas where all their lives’ efforts have been devoted, expanding the Kingdom of God for His glory.

Besides being a homemaker and virtuous mother, she worked tirelessly with her husband in the service of the church. Her most current merits and acts of admiration were in the beginning of 2020, while being confined to a wheel chair, she still gave her final preaching and she sang her final hymn in her beloved church. She would ignore and overcome her limitations and still give glory to God in spite of her condition. These and many more will be her acts of heroism as the Matriarch of Elim Pentecostal Church.

She is survived by her mother Josefa Mendoza Silva, husband Rev. Honorio Velazquez Sr. and six children: Joel (Reyna); Avelino Jonathan (Coretta); Honorio, Jr.(Suzanna); Laurentina Esther (Daniel); Lucio (Rebekah); Enoc (Jessica); and her grandchildren: Ruben, Jazmin, Terrance, Micai, Anna Kate, Audrey, Ahser, Ruth, Hadassah, Isaiah, Jerusha Arri, Eden, Elijah, Emma-Lee Noelia, Everly, Levi; as well as ones sister Laurentina Ellett (Frank) from Burnett, TX; and nine siblings who live in Mexico (Gamaliel, Jose, Samuel, David, Berta, Noemi, Mirna, Alicia, Hilda).

Visitation will be held at the UPLCII Convention Center, 617 Dewitt, Kenedy, TX 78119 at 9:00a.m. Saturday, August 15, 2020 with Funeral Services beginning promptly at 10:00a.m. with Rev. Samuel Montoya officiating. Interment to follow in Loma Alta Cemetery. Pallbearers: Otto Oroxon, Mark Oroxon, Alfredo Velasquez, Leo Velasquez, Daniel Garza, Ruben Velasquez.

Alejandro Rios Caballero

Alejandro Rios Caballero of Kenedy, Texas born on February 7, 1948 in Pawnee, Texas to Inosencio Caballero and Petra Rios Garza passed away on Monday, August 10, 2020 at the age of 72 at his residence.  Mr. Caballero was preceded in death by his father. He is survived by his mother: Petra Rios Garza of Kenedy,TX; his wife: Sandra R. Caballero of Kenedy, TX; his daughters: Stephanie (Henry) Villarreal of Floresville, TX, Marlene Lapetitemort of Okahoma and Juana Martin also of Oklahoma; sons: Chris McHaney of Oklahoma, Paul (Ines) Ramos of McAllen, TX , Andres (Ksenia) Ramos of Chicago, IL and Stephen (Odessey) Ramos of Corpus Christi, TX; 6 grandchildren; sisters: Barbara Garcia of Kenedy, TX, Josie Caballero of Victoria, TX, Mary(Wally) Gomez of Beeville, TX, Rosie Venecia of Kenedy, TX, Irma Padron of Kenedy, TX; Marty (Roland) Espinoza of Kenedy,TX and Lisa Ortega of Skidmore,TX; brothers: Johnny (Linda)Caballero of Corpus Christi, TX, Joseph Caballero of San Antonio, TX and Matthew Caballero of Pleasanton, TX; numerous nieces, nephews,his pets: Lola and Rango and other relatives. Visitation will be held on Friday, August 14, 2020 at 10:00a.m. with Funeral Services beginning at 11:00a.m. at Eckols Chapel with Pastora Adelita Sotelo officiating. Interment will follow in Loma Alta Cemetery. Pallbearers: Stephen Ramos, Henry Caballero, Paul Ramos, Alfonso Ramos, Michael Espinoza, Joe Escandon III, Noah Tyrrell, Brandon Cortez. Honorary Pallbearers: Luis Sotelo, Adam Ramos and Jonathon Espinoza, Aaron Cortez, Wally Gomez, Jason Gomez, George Garcia, Joseph Caballero, Matthew Caballero, Cindy Castillo. If attending Visitation and Services, please wear your face mask into funeral home and chapel. Social Distancing Practice in place.

Thomas Walter Keller

Thomas Walter Keller, the long-time Brownsville educator for whom Thomas W. Keller Elementary School is named and the founding principal of Cromack Elementary School, passed away early Thursday morning, August 6, 2020, at his ranch in Mineral Texas at the age of 92.

Keller retired from the Brownsville Independent School District in 1990 as deputy superintendent under Superintendent Raul Besteiro. While deputy superintendent he took great pride in BISD building the equivalent of an elementary school a year for several years without the benefit of bond issues. He also served as principal of Resaca Elementary, what was then Victoria Ward Elementary, and Stell Middle School.

Although recently in failing health, as late as last summer he was actively running the ranch, fencing the 1,000 acre ranch in spring 2019, his daughter Linda Cruickshanks said. He died of natural causes.

Cruickshanks said one of her earliest memories was traveling with her parents to what is now the El Cielo Biosphere Reserve in Tamaulipas, Mexico. While the head of the chemistry department at Texas Southmost College before joining BISD, Keller helped spearhead the park’s development, and her parents had a cabin there during the park’s early development.

Keller was born in Brownsville in 1927 and attended El Jardin School. He later played trumpet in a professional swing band and learned to fly his Taylorcraft airplane from Amelia Earhart’s instructor, Cruickshanks said, adding that her father received his flying license before his drivers license.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin in three years. He met Mary Frances Hudman , his future wife, while teaching her to fly.

“My mother came to take flying lessons from him and he ended up marrying her,” Cruickshanks said. My mother was very instrumental in everything he did.”

Growing up, Cruickshanks remembers her father as “A very hands-on principal” who wanted to make his schools special. “He really wanted the kids to enjoy school,” she said.

She also said that even in his later years Keller would remember his time a principal of Victoria Ward School, and brag about the school’s parents fundraised to help buy land adjacent to the school.

“The school board didn’t have the money so the parents went out and had carnivals to raise the money to buy the land, she said.

Later, as an administrator, BISD vocational and technical programs were so successful that Keller”went around the state teaching other districts how to do it,” she said.

Drue Brown, now vice president of the BISD Board of Trustees, worked under Keller during his time as deputy superintendent and remembered him fondly.

“Tom Keller was a tremendous, positive influence on the many people he worked with at Brownsville ISD. I was fortunate to work directly for Mr. Keller for over a decade. He certainly shaped me as both an educator and a person. His impact on so many of us continues to this day. His passing is a significant loss not only to those who knew him, but to the school district and Brownsville community that he helped to shape with his many years of honest and compassionate service,” she said in statement.

Keller returned to Brownsville in 2010 when Keller Elementary was dedicated, and in February 2018, when BISD honored him as Principal for a Day of his namesake school.

“I can’t remember seeing him happier than he was that day,” his daughter, also an educator, said. “He was so proud of that school.”

He is survived by his wife of 72 years: Mary Frances Hudman Keller of Mineral, TX; daughter: Mary Linda Keller (Alan) Cruickshanks of Mineral, TX; son: Thomas Walter (Merily) Keller of Austin, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there is no public funeral, but a post-pandemic memorial service will be held, the family said.  Private Burial is at the Mineral Cemetery, Bee County.

Mr. Keller will lie in state  for the public on Saturday, August 8, 2020 from 5:00p.m. to 7:00p.m. at Eckols Funeral Home Chapel for those that would like to see Mr. Keller  and sign his register book.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Scholarship Fund, Thomas Walter Keller Elementary, 2540 W. Alton Gloor Blvd., Brownsville, Texas 78520.

Ulises Castaneda Carranza

Mr. Ulises Castaneda Carranza of Kenedy, TX born in Mexico passed away at his residence on August 5, 2020 at the age of 82. Mr. Carranza is survived by his wife: Sarita Lara Caranza of Kenedy, TX and other relatives. Private Graveside services will be held in the Kenedy Cemetery, Kenedy,TX.

Geronimo Medina Gonzales

Geronimo Medina Gonzales, of Kenedy, Texas born on March 8, 1938 in Kenedy, TX to Pablo Gonzales and Maria Medina Gonzales passed away on August 4, 2020 at the age of 82. Mr. Gonzales is preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Lisa in 1998. Survivors include his wife Maria G. Gonzales of Kenedy, TX; daughter Gracie (Robert) Elizondo of Kenedy, TX; son: Geronimo Gonzales Jr. of Kenedy, TX; 7 grandchildren; 8 great grandchildren; 2 sisters: Janie Maldonado of Beeville, TX and Lidia Guajardo of San Antonio, TX; brothers: Frank Gonzales of Kenedy, TX, Carlos Gonzales, of San Antonio and Reymundo Gonzales of AZ; numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Visitation will be held on Sunday, August 9, 2020 from 4:00p.m. to 9:00p.m. with a Rosary to be recited at 7:00p.m. at Eckols Chapel. Funeral services Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10:00a.m. at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church with Rev. Norbert Hermann officiating. Interment to follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Pallbearers: Jeremy Cisneros, Clint Braudaway, Audie Benavides, Adam Gonzales, Jesse Arrerondo, Stormy Rossett. Those attending must wear face mask into funeral home and chapel and church. No Exceptions.

Clyde Thomas Molandes

Clyde Thomas Molandes of Kenedy,TX born in Nacogdoches,TX passed away on July 29, 2020 at the age of 89. Mr. Molandes will be laid to rest near his parents , Dorey Molandes and Stella Rodriguez Molandes in the Procella Cemetery, Lufkin,TX on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 11:00a.m. Immediate family only to witness.