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.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 31, 1997
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
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.