McAllen - Rafael H. Flores, 90, of McAllen, Texas passed away peacefully Tuesday, March 20, surrounded by his loving eight children and his longtime caregiver. Descended from pioneer families in Starr and Duval counties, he was raised in Laredo, TX where the family had relocated in the early 1900s in pursuit of extended educational opportunities. He attended the University of Texas at Austin where his lifelong love for the mighty Longhorns began. He helped found and served as the first President of the student activist Alba Club, which was dedicated to advancing the rights and opportunities for the Mexican American community. The friendships built among this UT cohort of WWII veterans and idealists helped shape his public service and his law practice in profound ways. Rafael proudly attended UT Law School, and became the first Mexican American to be inducted into the Friars Society in 1951. During the Korean conflict, Rafael was commissioned as First Lieutenant Judge Advocate General Corp.
His commitment to public service is evidenced by his community involvement. He was elected to the McAllen City Council where he served from 1960 until 1976, with eight years as Mayor Pro Tem. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Board of Directors of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory in Austin, a research and development center devoted to improving educational outcomes for children in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. As a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, Rafael led a ministry for young adults at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Rafael was an active member in the Hidalgo County Bar Association throughout his career. He believed in his profession and the justice system it served, serving both with distinction and honor.
Rafael Flores is survived by his eight children; Norma Vogel, Carmen Flores, Patricia Eder, Ana (John) Wallace, Rafael Jr., Roberto (Maria), and Rick (Sharon), and Cecilia (Andy) Ramos. He was the proud grandfather of seventeen and great grandfather of five. He is also survived by his spouse Blandina Cardenas Flores, his sister Consuelo Lopez and numerous nieces and nephews. The family wishes to extend its deepest thanks and gratitude to his dedicated and loving caregiver of almost twenty years, Robert Gomez.
Visitation will be held at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in McAllen on Friday, March 23 from 5:00 - 8:00pm, with a Catholic rosary to begin at 7:00pm. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 24, at 9am at OLS with interment immediately following at Valley Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Texas Exes Hidalgo-Starr Chapter for their scholarship fund: 1601 W Jonquil Avenue, McAllen, Texas 78501
Published by The Monitor on Mar. 23, 2018.