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MISSION, RGV – A celebration of the life of Kika de la Garza was held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Mission, Texas, on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Eligio “Kika” de la Garza was born Sept. 22, 1927, and died March 13, 2017.

The program notes for the service quoted Douglas MacArthur: “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

The program notes also had a short bio on de la Garza. Here it is:


Eligio “Kika” was born in September, 22, 1927, in Mercedes, Texas, to Dario and Elisa de la Garza. He grew up in Mission where he attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School and Mission High School. Kika served in the United States Navy as well as the United States Army prior to receiving his law degree in 1951 from St. Mary’s University. In 1953, he married Lucille Alamia of Edinburg, Texas.

In 1952, at the age of 24, he launched his career in public service by being elected to the Texas House of Representatives. After serving six consecutive terms in Austin, Kika was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1965 where he proudly served for thirty-two years.

For Kika, dreams became reality in a journey that took a simple shoeshine boy from the streets of downtown Mission to the halls of the United States Capitol.

Although he received many awards and much recognitions, Kika was most proud of being a family man. His live for Lucille and his three children, Jorge, Michael and Angela was evident when he spoke of them or introduced them to his colleagues and friends. That can also be said of his grandchildren, Christina, Jorge, Jr., Laura, Mariel, Michael, Jr., Alexandra, Jennifer, Philip and his great-grandchild, Jaxon.

Kika, a man of honor, integrity and dignity… we will miss you.

(Editor’s Note: The photos in the above slideshow were taken by Ron Whitlock.)