In Memory
Reynaldo Guerra Garza
WHEREAS, The Senate of the State of Texas joins the citizens of Brownsville in mourning the loss of the Honorable Reynaldo Guerra Garza, who died September 14, 2004, at the age of 89; and WHEREAS, Reynaldo Garza was born in Brownsville on July 7, 1915; he earned an associate in arts degree from Brownsville Junior College in 1935, a bachelor of arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1937, and a degree from The University of Texas School of Law in 1939; and WHEREAS, Judge Garza was interested in law from an early age, and he rose from humble beginnings to become one of our state's most prominent jurists; he was in the private practice of law in Brownsville from 1939 until 1942; he then served during World War II from 1942 until 1945 as a member of the United States Army Air Corps; he returned to Brownsville and practiced law from 1945 until 1961; and WHEREAS, President John F. Kennedy nominated Reynaldo Garza to the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, in March of 1961; Judge Garza served as chief judge of the court from 1974 until 1979; he was our nation's first Mexican American federal district judge; and WHEREAS, President Jimmy Carter nominated Judge Garza to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and he was confirmed by the United States Senate in July of 1979; he assumed senior judge status on the court in 1982; and WHEREAS, Judge Garza presided over many significant cases; his most celebrated civil rights decision was the 1972 Medrano v. Allee case, which struck down laws used by the Texas Rangers to break up United Farm Workers strikes; and WHEREAS, Judge Garza's status as the first Mexican American district judge made him a role model for generations of other Mexican Americans, and he inspired many to pursue their own dreams; he was the first Hispanic federal judge to be the subject of a full-length biography; his early life and rise to prominence was captured in Louise Ann Fisch's All Rise: Reynaldo G. Garza, The First Mexican American Federal Judge; and WHEREAS, He was also a highly respected community leader; he was the first Mexican American elected to the Brownsville school board, and he worked with the League of United Latin American Citizens to improve the civil rights of Mexican Americans in Texas; in 1977, in recognition of his many accomplishments, the Reynaldo G. Garza Elementary School in Brownsville was named in his honor; and WHEREAS, Judge Garza was a man of integrity, strength, and generosity, and he was a devout Christian; he was the recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal from Pope Pius XII, and in 1954, he became a decorated Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great; and WHEREAS, Judge Garza lived his life to the fullest and was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and he leaves behind memories that will be treasured forever by his family and many friends; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Senate of the State of Texas, 79th Legislature, hereby extend sincere condolences to the bereaved family of Judge Reynaldo Guerra Garza: his wife of 61 years, Bertha Champion Garza; his children, Reynaldo G. Garza, Jr., David C. Garza, Ygnacio P. Garza, Bertha Garza Elizondo, and Monica Garza; and his 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and, be it further RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution be prepared for his family as an expression of deepest sympathy from the Texas Senate, and that when the Senate adjourns this day, it do so in memory of the Honorable Reynaldo Guerra Garza. Lucio ________________________________ President of the Senate I hereby certify that the above Resolution was adopted by the Senate on February 22, 2005, by a rising vote. ________________________________ Secretary of the Senate ________________________________ Member, Texas Senate