FRANK MAURICE STAGGS, SR.
JULY 9, 1927 – DECEMBER 20, 2022
Frank Maurice Staggs, Sr., age 95, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, December 20th. He was lovingly surrounded by his sons, Frank Jr. (“Pancho”) and Raul, along with the family’s longtime faithful caregivers, Ana and Lola Rodriguez. Frank was preceded in death by his parents and beautiful wife of 63 years, Maria Julieta Farias Staggs.
Frank was born on July 9, 1927, in Laredo, Texas to parents Frank Wilson Staggs, an oil field supervisor, and Gertrude Frizzell Staggs, a music teacher, of Mirando City, Texas. Although they lived in many different towns in Texas over the years, Frank spent the majority of his formative years in Mirando City where he graduated high school. In 1950, Frank received a BS in Education from Texas A & I, Kingsville, and in 1953, a MA in Educational Administration and Speech Education from the University of Northern Colorado, in Greely, CO. A veteran of WWII, Frank enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as a sergeant on a medical ship in the Pacific Ocean. Frank later served as a 2nd Lt. with the National Guard until 1959. On May 28, 1952, Frank married Julie, and together they raised two sons: Pancho, a retired civil litigation attorney of Houston, TX and Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Raul, a casting director and actor in Los Angeles, CA.
A man of many trades and avocations, Frank began his teaching career in 1950 in San Benito, TX where he created a pilot E.S.L. program, before moving back to Mirando City in 1951. In Mirando City, he taught multiple subjects and was also a basketball and football coach. In 1953, Frank moved his family to Laredo, where he joined the faculty at the then-newly-opened Lamar Junior High as a Speech and History teacher, and was promoted to assistant principal in 1956, working under his good friend and mentor, Principal Ed Lockey. In 1960, Frank was named the first principal of the new Milton Elementary School. In 1964 he was promoted to principal of Lamar, a position he held until 1972. During his tenure there, Lamar achieved much success in academics, arts education, and sports. In 1966, Frank spearheaded Special Opportunity Classes, the first program to help overage elementary students move to high school in one year. The program was later renamed Coordinated Vocational Academic Education, receiving statewide recognition for preventing over 800 students from dropping out, and instead encouraging them to graduate from high school. In 1972, Frank was promoted to Director of Secondary Education, and retired in 1980. In 1998, Frank was elected to the Laredo ISD School Board where he served until 2002. In June, 2013, the new library at the rebuilt Lamar Middle School was named in honor of Frank. What he truly loved, outside of family, was the education of Webb County’s youth.
A true Renaissance man with an amazing work ethic, Frank rarely had fewer than two jobs at a time throughout his life. While a classroom teacher in the early 1950s, he moonlighted as a “play by play” football announcer for KVOZ Radio. He also worked part time at KGNS TV as a sports and weather announcer, and also hosted the “Ranger Bob and the Ranger Club Show.” He was a member of the Southwest Basketball Association, and was a basketball referee for almost 16 years. For many years, Frank sold Life and Health Insurance part time until his LISD retirement, when he took on the insurance business fulltime with partner Ed Leonard. Their firm was often ranked among the top selling agencies in the country. For years, Frank ran the De La Garza Family Ranch, as well as the Staggs Family ranching interests. “I enjoy it,” he often said. “And the cows don’t mind!”
Frank had a long history of volunteerism, civic duty and philanthropy. Frank was a member of The Lions Club, serving in several capacities including Club President and District Vice President. He was an officer with both The Community Chest and The United Way. He was active with the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association, and served as president in 1984. Frank and his wife, Julie, were honored to portray George and Martha Washington for the 1985 celebration. He served three and a half years on the Laredo Water and Sewer Board. Frank was very active with the Republican Party, and was president of the Webb County Taxpayers’ League.
Closer to his heart, Frank and Julie were longtime supporters of the Blessed Sacrament Elementary School, and were generous donors for the building of its cafeteria/multi-purpose facility. In 2018, Frank was honored when The Texas Academy of International and STEM Studies at Texas A&M International University, of which Frank was a longtime benefactor, was renamed The Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies. In 2019, Frank created the Frank & Julieta Staggs Scholarship Endowment to encourage first-generation students from select South Texas counties to pursue a degree in the College of Arts and Sciences at his alma mater, Texas A&M- Kingsville (formerly Texas A&I), and a career in teaching upon graduation. And in October 2022, TAMIU presented Frank with their “Innovador Award” for his impact on and contribution to education in Laredo.
“My folks raised me, first of all, not to judge people by their color or their religion,” Staggs told Laredo Morning Times on the occasion of his 90th Birthday. “What type of a person they are, that’s what you judge, and do the right thing. That’s always been my guide.” He added, “I’ve enjoyed life. I can’t complain. I’ve been very lucky about everything.”
In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation be made to the Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy. Checks should be made out to TAMIU with Staggs in the memo, and mailed to TAMIU, 5201 University Blvd, KL261, Laredo, Texas 78041, or click here: Staggs Memorial Link
We invite you to celebrate his life by joining us on Friday, December 23, 2022, from 10 am -12 noon pm at Hillside Funerals & Cremations, 310 Hillside Rd.; Laredo, TX 78041, where a Prayer Service and Celebration of Life Service will be held at 12 noon. A live stream of the service can be found by clicking on this link: Frank M. Staggs, Sr. Live Stream
Honorary Pallbearers are: Joe and Teena Arciniega, Cristina Farias, Dr. Hector Farias, Gonzalo Farias, Ray Hughston, Albert Lowry, Angie Moore, Monte Moore, Roberto Muller, Rosanne Palacios, Veronica Ramirez, Gilbert Vela, Sr., Rebecca Leyendecker Gutierrez, and the Students & Alumni of the Julieta & Frank Staggs Academy of International & STEM Studies.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hillside Funerals & Cremations, 310 W. Hillside Rd.; Laredo, TX 78041; 956.724.6060