Frank Tejeda

Frank Tejeda
Kilo Co. 3/3 Chu Lai 1965


Congressman Frank M. Tejeda

United States Representative
Democrat of Texas

One Hundred Third - One Hundred Fourth Congresses

Frank Tejeda was born in San Antonio, Texas on October 2, 1945. He attended St. Leo's Catholic School and Harlandale High School. From 1963 to 1967 he served in the United States Marine Corps and was wounded in action while serving in Vietnam. In 1970 he graduated from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, and in 1974 he received a J.D. degree from the University of California School of Law at Berkeley and was admitted to the bar. He served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1976 to 1987, and in the Texas Senate from 1987 to 1993. He continued his education while serving in the State legislature, and received an M.A. in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1980 and an LL.M. from Yale University School of Law in 1989. In 1992 Frank Tejeda was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' 28th District with eighty-seven percent of the vote. In Congress he continued his support of issues affecting veterans, as he did earlier in the Texas Legislature, where he supported bills to build housing for veterans. In his first term in Congress, he was assigned to the Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Committees. He helped organize and lead a National Veterans Task Force in support of the candidacy of Bill Clinton for president.

Congressman Frank Tejeda  died on January 30, 1997 after battling brain cancer for more than a year.  Tejeda was buried with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery Monday February 3, 1997 after a funeral Mass at the small Catholic church in the southside neighborhood where he grew up. Texas National Guard F-16s flew in the missing man formation over the gravesite of the San Antonio Democrat, a decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War.  At least 60 members of Congress were among those who filled the church.



Frank M. TEJEDA Academy San Antonio, TX. Frank M. Tejeda Frank M. Tejeda Academy was named for Rep. Frank Tejeda of Texas, a high school dropout who used the Marine Corps as a springboard out of the San Antonio southside and into an eventual seat in Congress. He had represented the heavily Hispanic 28th district of south Texas as a Democrat since its creation in 1992. Tejeda died on Jan. 29, 1997, at the age of 51 from pneumonia, a complication of treatment he had been receiving since surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor in September 1995. Frank Tejeda at 17 dropped out of Harlandale high school to join the Marines, and suddenly he was a young man on the rise. Before his stint was over, Tejeda had won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart in Vietnam, received a high school equivalency diploma and maintained one of the highest grade-point averages ever recorded in Officer Candidate School. Then, as if to prove that his academic awakening was not a Marine Corps fluke, he graduated from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, received a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University and an advanced law degree from Yale. By the time he got his Yale degree in 1989, Tejeda was already a successful politician. As a leader of the southside political coalition in San Antonio, he served a decade in the Texas House, then moved to the state senate in 1986. By the time the 28th district was created after the 1990 census to give Hispanic voters a majority, he was so popular that no one ran against him either in the Democratic primary or the general election even though the district, which snakes south from San Antonio to the Rio Grande, included eight counties beyond his home base in San Antonio. Even so, Tejeda, who had helped map the new district as a member of the legislature, campaigned hard. In Congress, mindful of both his Marines background and San Antonio's role as a center of military installations and defense industries, Tejeda became a champion of both veterans and those still enlisted in the service. Although he returned to work three weeks after his brain surgery for a tumor in 1995, his health continued to be a problem. After re-election for a third term, his illness prevented him from attending the opening of the new Congress. Under the terms of a special House resolution, he was allowed to be sworn in in San Antonio. Tejeda is survived by his mother, Lillie; three children, Marisa, Sonia and Frank; a sister, Mary Alice Lara; and three brothers, Juan, Richard and Ernest.


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 31, 1997


Hillary and I were saddened to learn today of the death of Congressman Frank Tejeda. Congressman Tejeda spent the last years of his life not only fighting for the citizens of San Antonio but also courageously battling cancer. Frank was a friend who dedicated himself to serving his country and community. He will long be remembered for his perseverance in the face of adversity. He endeared himself to all who knew him, always looking out for the best interests of his constituents, members of the military, and the Hispanic and veterans' communities in particular. We will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his children, Marissa, Sonya and Frank, his mother Lillie, his extended family members, and his many friends at this difficult time.


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