John Fredericks Scaief passed away Friday October 26, 2018, surrounded by his family at Harlingen Medical Center. He was 83.
John was born July 21, 1935 in San Benito, Texas to H. Martin and Helen Scaief. He grew up on the family farm east of San Benito and attended the San Benito Public Schools, graduating from San Benito High School. John attended Texas A&M and the University of Texas, Austin until he joined the Marine Corp where he completed his basic training at Camp Pendleton, CA. John was very proud Marine where he served as a Corporal. He was a member of the 1st Recon Battalion as a sharpshooter and elite swimmer.
In 1958 he began his farming career which spanned over 60 years. He was a 3rd generation farmer from the San Benito area following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who came to the Valley in the early 1900’s and cleared the land where the farming operation continues today.
In December 1959 he married Nancy Deem. They had two sons together: John Deem Scaief and Michael Forrest Scaief. John was preceded in death by his eldest son John, his parents, and sister Jane Lambeth Powers. He is survived by his son Michael (Beth) and their two children, Mary Katherine and John Charles, and his loyal and devoted friend and foreman Manuel Vasquez. In addition, he is survived by his brothers M. Harold Scaief and Sam Scaief and sister Nancy Gustaveson, along with numerous nieces and nephews, the Manuel Vasquez family, and many friends.
John’s passion was farming. He came from a generation of pioneering farmers who helped establish the Valley’s foundation we have today and spent his life building a farming legacy in Cameron County. He loved all of the different crops he grew but lived for citrus season. He will be missed this year as hundreds of folks stop by to pick up their citrus or walk the fences to look at his exotic wildlife. The farming operation he built will continue on through the great men that have worked with him over the decades and his grandson who carries the same passion.
John served in numerous capacities in the community. He has been a member of the First Presbyterian Church of San Benito since he was a boy and where his family continues to worship today. John was a trustee on the San Benito Independent School District board where he served as President. He served on the board of the San Benito Gin Association and numerous other agriculture related cooperatives.
John loved his family and friends. He was surrounded by unconditional love, commitment and loyalty of not just his family but the folks who worked with him and the lifelong friendships he fostered. He gave opportunity to every youth that came his way looking for work or a sponsorship. John’s family was large, from his son and his family, to the Vasquez Family and the men on the farm, he was always at someone’s family event, especially if there was good food to be had. John loved the cool mountain air and spent as much time as he could throughout his life in Creede, Colorado at his family’s summer home or in the early winter hunting mule deer and elk with his friends and family. He was a devoted grandfather to his grandchildren. Always being there as a babysitter, vacation companion or life’s coach and now as they begin their adult life, his grandchildren have become a reflection of him. As a farmer, betting on the outcome was second nature, and John took this to new levels as he claimed to have the skill to out-play the slot machines. It was not uncommon for him and Manuel to disappear for days at a time to capitalize on his proclaimed talent.
The loss of his eldest son in 1980 was heartbreaking. They were much alike in sports and political acumen. Johnny was so much like his father and John has missed him dearly for so many years. For those of us who know John, understand he has passed on to his new life to be with his son.
John will always be remembered as a humble and honest gentlemen. Those of us who knew him will always smile in reflection and it will forever be hard to find a kinder and gentler man.
Pallbearers include: Frank Gonzales, William Elliff, Bobby Farris, Charlie Kennedy, Rodrigo Gamez and Pat Kornegay. Honorary pallbearers include: Manuel Vasquez, Mike Hervey, Gary Taft, David Garza, James Russell, Bill McMurray and Jeff Jones.
Visitation will be held Monday, October 29th from 5 to 7 pm at the San Benito Funeral Home located at 1400 W. Bus 77, San Benito, Texas.
The family invites all of you that knew John to join us in a celebration of his life at the First Presbyterian Church of San Benito, 566 N Reagan St., at 10:00am, followed by a graveside service at Mont Meta Memorial Park. Thereafter, lunch will be served at the Church for all family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, we encourage donations to the First Presbyterian of San Benito or charity of your choice.