Cover photo for Conrado de la Garza's Obituary
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1942 Conrado 2024

Conrado de la Garza

February 22, 1942 — January 24, 2024

Conrado “Connie” de la Garza, former Mayor of the City of Harlingen and the owner and broker of Bahnman Realty Inc., died peacefully on Wednesday January 24, 2024, at his home in Harlingen.

With a lifetime devoted to public service, de la Garza began his real estate and civic career in 1963 as a Deputy Tax Assessor for City of Raymondville Schools. In 1965, he became the Chief Deputy Tax Assessor for Pharr-San Juan-Alamo; in 1967, de la Garza would accept the position of Tax Assessor and Collector for the City of Harlingen.

When offered the position of Tax Assessor for Harlingen, de la Garza directly addressed the interviewer regarding fair taxation for all citizens and his memory of being allowed to only sit in the balcony area of the local movie theater as a young Hispanic boy in the 1950’s. Impressed by his candor and commitment to fairness in city and public dealings, de la Garza was offered the job the very next day. De la Garza would go on to lecture on tax assessment across the state of Texas, including an annual 3-day lecture at the University of Texas’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

De la Garza’s commitment to fair and equitable taxation and real estate opportunities for all citizens helped him rise throughout the ranks of service, culminating in his election as the Mayor of the City of Harlingen from 1998-2004. Prior to his Mayorship, he served as a City Commissioner, Chairman of the Valley International Airport Board, Chairman of the Harlingen Economic Development Board, past President of the Bonham Elementary Parent Teacher Association (PTA); Vice-President of the Treasure Hills Elementary PTA, and past Vice-Chairman of the Harlingen Industrial Foundation, Inc.

A lifelong Republican and Lion’s Club member, de la Garza served on Governor George W. Bush’s 1993 Inaugural Committee and Rick Perry’s 2003 Inaugural Committee.  De la Garza was selected to be diplomatic escort when President Ronald Regan visited Harlingen in 1984, which culminated in a televised enchilada and charro bean lunch at Palmetto Inn with the actor turned national leader.

De la Garza was twice appointed to the Texas State Technical College Board of Regents by both Bush and Perry.  He was elected to serve as a Director for the International Association of Lions Clubs in 1999, was inducted into the Texas Lions Hall of Fame, and received the Club’s highest honor, Ambassador of Goodwill Award, among others.

De la Garza would go on to purchase Bahnman Realty in 1972 from H.W. Bahnman, his real estate mentor, whose name he kept on the business in honorarium. Bahnman Realty has proved to be a bedrock of local real estate for over 51 years under the leadership of he and his business partner, Lisa Acosta de la Garza. He also served in every office of the Harlingen Board of Realtors, including two terms as President in 1976 and 1989.

Committed to his passion for the City of Harlingen, de la Garza was known for proactively pursuing businesses to open locations in Harlingen, his biggest successes being Target Corp, McDonald’s, Church’s and Cricket Wireless, among others. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Sierra Title since 1984.

He was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church and served in many leadership roles, including on its Board of Elders. He later joined Covenant Presbyterian Church and attended services with his grandchildren.

Born in Raymondville, Texas, in 1942, de la Garza graduated from Raymondville High School and attended Texas A&M University, proudly serving in the Corps of Cadets. From the beginning, de la Garza embraced hard work, sacking groceries after school and working at nearby cotton gins and grain elevators during the summertime. De la Garza was also a bare-back bronc and bull rider, leaving the rodeo life at the time he started his family.

De la Garza would find his utmost relaxation deer hunting, surf fishing, and taking his children to hunt for sand dollars on South Padre Island. He loved the Aggies, the Dallas Cowboys, a good Louis L’Amour novel, and visiting the best art museum exhibits and steak houses in any city that he would travel.  As of late, de la Garza loved to take his grandchildren to breakfast and share the children’s section of the local newspaper to discuss.

De la Garza is survived by four children and four grandchildren; Christine de la Garza and granddaughter Sophia Leone; son, Conrado “Roddy” de la Garza (Randy); daughter, Mia de la Garza-Fields (Josh) and grandchildren Nora, Ella, and Hunter; son, Juan de la Garza; and co-parent and business partner, Lisa Acosta de la Garza. He is also survived by siblings Roberto “Bobby” de la Garza; Elvira “Vera” Milford (Ben); Gustavo “Gus” de la Garza (Sherry); and Maria Elena de la Garza-Felske, as well as numerous beloved nieces, nephews, friends and family.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Juan de la Garza and Maria Treviño de la Garza; his sister Catarina “Katie” Garcia; his brother-in-law Federico “Fred” Garcia Jr.; his niece, Leticia Lena Garcia; his sister-in-law Lucila Solis de la Garza; and brother-in-law, Donald “Don” Felske.

Much gratitude is expressed to Kelly Miller, Diane Conway and the agents and office team at Bahnman Realty, now and over the years.  Thank you to all the citizens, municipal employees, and elected officials throughout the years who have all contributed to his success.

The family would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to his friends and honorary pallbearers, Curtis Bonner, Tudor Uhlhorn, The Lions Club of Harlingen, and our family pallbearers, his sons Roddy and Juan, son-in-law Josh Fields and his nephew Alex Acosta, who will carry him with much love and respect.

We would also like to thank the various city leaders, citizens, good friends, restaurant owners, and their staff who made his 7 AM “breakfast clubs,” the happy start to his day over the decades.

Visitation Service with the family will be held on Thursday, February 1, 2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home, 1400 Business 77, San Benito, Texas 78586.

A graveside service will be held on Friday, February 2, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. at Raymondville Memorial Cemetery, 16100 TX-186, Raymondville, Texas 78580, and a memorial service will follow at 2:00 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2701 N Seventh Street, Harlingen, Texas 78550.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his memory by check or online for Covenant Presbyterian Church at www.covenantrgv.org or by check to The Lions Club of Harlingen, PO Box 522, Harlingen, Texas 78551-0522 or TSTC Harlingen Scholarships, Attn: Luke Lucio, 1902 N. Loop 499 Harlingen, TX 78550.

For those who would like to share a favorite story or memory of Connie with his family, please send an email to: cdlg.memoriam@gmail.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Conrado de la Garza, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, February 1, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Friday, February 2, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Raymondville Memorial Park

, Raymondville, TX 78580

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Memorial Service

Friday, February 2, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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