Pharr - January 25, 1930 - December 7, 2019
We are greatly saddened by the loss of our father Romeo Saenz Escobar from natural causes.
Dad was born in his childhood home in Pharr, Texas, on January 25, 1930, to Jose Maria Escobar and Lucia Saenz-Escobar. He was the second of seven children, later eight, when they added their brother Alfonso to the family. He grew up during the scarcity of the 30's and 40's and often talked about collecting glass soda bottles to make money. Too poor to afford any of the niceties of life, he and his friends would make marbles out of the clay dirt around them. Meals with meat were a rare delight and new clothing were often hand-me-downs or sewn by his mom.
When he was about 13, the family moved to Donna, Texas. At this young age, he would go to work with his father who led hired teams for harvesting crops for the local farmers. It was hard work and after considering his options, he confronted his father telling him that he no longer wanted to be in that line of work. He chose instead to work hard at his education, graduating from Donna High School, the University of Houston and the University Of Houston School Of Pharmacy where he was one of the youngest to ever get a degree in Pharmacy.
At about this time, he met the love of his life - Elsa Belia Valverde from Mission - our Mom. She was integral in making sure the house ran accordingly and kept us in line so that Dad would come home to relax after a 10-hour day at the pharmacy. But no matter how tired he would be, he made time for us.
My Dad served God first, always devout and a leader in the United Methodist Church. He served when he was called, including with the young adults, the United Methodist Men and the global United Methodist ministries. He started his military career of 30 years by serving in the US Army National Guard and was activated into full-time military service during the Berlin-Cuban Crisis. He achieved the rank of Captain and was Commander of his own company. Dad served as commissioner of Pharr for two terms and was on the school board of PSJA ISD.
Dad was also a Scoutmaster for many years. He wanted to provide as many occasions to teach leadership and goal-setting skills to young men who had absent fathers or may not have had such opportunities.
Professionally, he worked hard, eventually becoming the owner of the Pharr Drug which he had for over 30 years until our parents retired. I remember times when some of the poorer families would come in for help. Dad would not hesitate to fill their prescriptions or provide them with medications even if they could not pay. Several days later some of them would bring in a large bag of 1015 onions or grapefruit as a thank you for his help. Dad graciously accepted with a smile.
There will never be enough room in this writing to tell you about a man who loved God, a man with integrity, a man who worked hard, and a man with love in his heart for many people, especially for his family. He was strict but never in a way that was not loving. His favorite enjoyment was sitting at the dinner table with all of his "kids" around him to enjoy a meal and talk. He was especially joyous when his grandchildren were around. He never forgot his humble beginnings and lived to serve all in his community for as long as he could. The five (ten, with the addition of spouses and grandchildren) of us have been blessed by having had him as our father. What he taught us and how he showed us to live will forever be a part of who we are. The world was a little better because of him.
Dad was preceded in death by his wife, Elsa Belia Valverde-Escobar; his parents, Jose Maria Escobar and Lucia Saenz-Escobar; and three brothers, Jose Ruben Escobar, Joel Rene Escobar and Jose Maria Escobar IV.
We thank God for him every day and look forward to the day when we will reconcile with him and our mother. Until then, those of us who survive him are his children, Belia E. Escobar-Thompson (Sam), Ruben R. Escobar, Elsa E. Rodriguez (Jesse), Marta Y. Escobar, and Sylvia I. Escobar-Juarez (Alex). Grandchildren: Dr. Nicholas Rodriguez and Emilia E. Rodriguez. Siblings: Ricardo Escobar (Aida), Alfonso P. Trejo (Dora), Mara O. Johnson (Neil), and Lucia Angelita Escobar. Also surviving are many nephews and nieces.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., with a 7 p.m. prayer service Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at Memorial Funeral Home in San Juan. Funeral service will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, December 12, 2019, at St. Mark United Methodist Church in McAllen. Interment will follow at Valley Memorial Gardens in Mission.
In lieu of flowers or plants, please make donations in Dad's name to St. Mark United Methodist Church: World Service/Apportionment Fund. This can be sent to St. Mark United Methodist Church; 301 W. Pecan Boulevard; McAllen, Texas 78501.
Funeral services are under the direction of Memorial Funeral Home in San Juan.