Maria Julieta Farias Staggs
(July 30, 1925 – October 1, 2015)
Maria Julieta Farias Staggs, 90, beloved wife of Frank M. Staggs, Sr., and mother of Frank Jr. (“Pancho”) of Houston, Texas, and Raul Clayton Staggs of Studio City, California, passed away on Thursday, October 1st surrounded by her husband, friend, and former pastor Msrg. Stanley A. Sliwiak, who administered last rites, and her dearest long-time home caregivers Ana and Lola Rodriguez, who, with Frank Sr., lovingly, faithfully and diligently cared for her during a 13-year struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease. (8 of which kept her confined to bed).
Julieta (“Julie”) was born on July 30, 1925, the only child of Francisco Felix Farias (jr.) and Maria Benavides de la Garza, and niece of the late Dr. Raul and Lala Treviño de la Garza, as well as of the late Francisca and Zoila de la Garza. As extensively described in George Farias’ The Farias Chronicles: A History and Geneology of a Portuguese/Spanish Family. Julie was a native Laredoan and descendant of early settlers of Cd. Guerrero, Tamaulipas, Mexico and also of the founder of Laredo, Don Tomas Sanchez. She was the granddaughter of the late Francisco F. Farias, who became the first president of the Laredo School Board in 1899 (and for whom Farias Elementary School is named) and Francisca Benavides Farias; and Candido de la Garza and Prudencia Benavides de la Garza.
Julie and Frank Sr. were married for 63 wonderful years. They married on May 28, 1952, at San Augustine Church (now Cathedral) After a short time living in Mirando City, Texas, Julie and Frank returned to Laredo to make their lifetime home.
Julie graduated from Martin High School in Laredo, Texas. She attended Southwest Texas State Teachers’ College (San Marcos) and the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a B.A. and M.A. in education with a minor in Spanish. Her master’s thesis, Vocabulario Español de Texas, published in 1953, and co-written by Gilberto Cerda and Berta Cabaza, was considered an authoritive text used in teaching Spanish and ESL, especially in South Texas. Julie was a teacher in the Laredo Independent School District for 34 years, and taught at Ryan Elementary School during 27 of those years, primarily fifth grade. She loved and found teaching extremely rewarding, and was often assigned migratory students, who had difficulty progressing from elementary school due to lack of language skills, because of her success in “off-plan” bilingual education long before bilingual education became standard. She retired from the teaching profession in 1980, after bilingual educators were required to undergo special educational certification (ironically sometimes using her Vocabulario).
Julie loved Laredo, and on week-ends she and Frank Sr. could be found with friends Friday evening at Nvo. Laredo’s Cadillac Bar & Restaurant or the old Tumble Inn off Hwy 359. Later on, they might also be at The Cotillon or Laredo Country Club. After retirement, Julie, ever the inveterate entertainer, might host a traveling merienda with her friends in her RV if she and Frank Sr. were not traveling abroad by air or by sea, or visiting their children or retired friends in the Hill Country.
Julie zealously portrayed Martha Washington in 1985, as part of Laredo’s Washington Birthday Celebration, along with her husband, who portrayed President George Washington after serving as the president of the WBC the year before. Few people knew that she carried the part that February while suffering an injured foot which did little to impair her deserved bow! She had become a member of the Society of Martha Washington in 1970, in which she served as out-of-town secretary and historian of the Society, and also chaired programming, financing, photography and cloakroom committees. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society. Mercy Regional Medical Center Auxiliary, Laredo Community Theater, Blessed Sacrament Altar Society, and The Luncheon Club. A life-long Democrat in keeping with her family’s history, she happily joined the Webb County Republican Women’s Club during Frank Sr.’s tenure as president of the Webb County Republican party. In the early 1980’s Julie served on committees to organize the dedication of Santos Benavides Park, and was active in organizing her high school’s 40th anniversary class reunion.
A Rosary will be conducted at Hillside Funeral Home, 310 W. Hillside Road. Laredo, Texas 78041, On Tuesday evening, October 6, at 7:00 p.m. A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 7, 2015, at Blessed Sacrament Church, 2219 Galveston St., Laredo , Texas 78043. Interment will follow at the Farias Family plot at Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Roberto Muller, Gonzalo Farias, Edward Frierson, Joe E. Arciniega, Jr.,and John R. Brown In addition to her god-daughter Thomasine Lowry Pantakis (Houston, Texas) and Julie’s teaching colleagues, Honorary Pallbearers will be Ron Staggs, Ron Johnston, Mary Jo Brenner, Suzie Mayo, John Frizzell, Col. Larry Dement (USAF,Ret.), Julie’s numerous Benavides, Farias and de la Garza cousins, and Frank Sr.’s many Frizzell and Staggs cousins. The family extends thanks to Dr. Milton Haber and Staff. Remembrances in lieu of flowers may be made to the American Alzheimer’s Association/ San Antonio & South Texas Chapter, 7400 Louie Pasteur Dr. #200, San Antonio, Texas 78229