Frank Maldonado, 93, of Brownsville entered into eternal rest at his residence on Wednesday evening, May 2, 2018.
Mr. Maldonado was preceded in death by his wife, Christine Maldonado; his parents, Hermenegildo and Virginia Maldonado; and his siblings, Antonio Maldonado, Beatrice Arechiga and Raul Maldonado.
He is survived by 2 sons, Frank Anthony Maldonado and John David Maldonado; grandchildren, Jerry Daniel Maldonado, Stephanie Christine Maldonado and Frank Victor “Nakoma” Maldonado; great-granddaughter, Casey Maldonado. Also surviving are several nieces and nephews, including Irma Vera and family, Evelyn Kompier and family, Arthur Arechiga, Raul Maldonado and family and Mirna Maldonado and family; brother-in-law, Alfred Jacques and family and sister in-law, Carmen Garcia and family, as well as numerous nieces and nephews of the Montoya family; and by his caregiver and longtime friend, Tita (M.L.) Lopez. Survivors also inlcude his cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Alfonso Maldonado, Mr. and Mrs. Leo Maldonado, Mr. and Mrs. Homero Teran, Mrs. Estella Maldonado-Garcia and Mr. Robert Maldonado.
Mr. Maldonado was born in the tiny hamlet of Berclair and raised in Brownsville. He played basketball and football at Brownsville High School from 1939 to 1941 and was named all-district in both sports. From 1942 to 1954, he participated in basketball and baseball in four different countries- playing basketball, military service baseball and semi-pro baseball.
In 1941, Mr. Maldonado joined the Army and served with the Army Medical Corps in New Guinea and the Phillipines, and was on hand for the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the biggest naval battle of World War II. He also played football and basketball in 1946-1947 at Brownsville Junior College. In 1946, he was given a professional baseball tryout with the New York Giants farm system and played semi-pro baseball with the Brownsville Charros and Donna Cardinals in 1947-48. In 1946-47, the Packard Clippers were coached by Frank Maldonado, whose contributions as an athlete made him an important figure in Brownsville sports history. He then went back to college and played varsity baseball at the University of Colorado in 1949-50. In 1959, he coached McAllen High School baseball to the South Zone district title, the first McAllen team championship in 10 years. He then joined the Brownsville High football coaching staff as a varsity assistant in 1962, helping the team reach the State Quarterfinals. He then entered private business in 1967.On October 1998 and October 2017, he was honored by “Leo Najo” Day Baseball Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Mr. Maldonado figures prominently in the 2016 book “Mexican American Baseball in South Texas,” the front cover of which features a photo of Mr. Maldonado, in a batting stance, from his days with the Buffaloes. His passion for athletics never waned. He still watched the local playoffs always did his best to keep in touch with his former students, attending reunions, funerals and such. Asked to describe the qualities that make such a good coach, Mr. Maldonado summed it up in eight words. “Stick to the basics and you’ll never be embarrassed” he said.
A proclamation was issued by the Mayor and the Commission of the City of Brownsville on May 2, 2017, honoring Mr. Maldonado as a citizen of Brownsville for all his accomplishments and contributions to the community.
Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, May 5, 2018 with the recitation of the rosary at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home. Military honors will be rendered by Commander Luis Lucio and members of the Veterans of Foreign War post.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. Monday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Everyone is asked to meet at the church as there will not be a procession from the funeral home to the church. All services will conclude after the Funeral Mass.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Mr. Maldonado may be made to the donor’s favorite charity.
Miss you coach, my "class mate". I won't forget to "keep 'em low and outside" and, along with Jimmy Odabashian, we will "watch your keys". Class act, all cylinders and a vital part of my life in those high school days with the Golden Eagles. So long..........for now. Please meet me at the Gate; I'll be looking for you.
Paul HemphillBrowsville, TX
I remember Mr. Maldonado at Brownsville High School were he was a coach and covered study hall also. I was a little scared of him as he had a commanding presence. I saw him at various times throughout the years and he was always very courteous and attentive; always a gentleman. I admired him and think he has left his mark on the Valley.
Fanny MilanAustin, TX
What an honor to have known you Frank, you had a marvelous life. My condolences to Tita Lopez , Frank Jr., JD and all the Maldonaldo family.
Helen PerezBrownsville, TX
My condolences to the Maldonado family. Frank was such a wonderful and happy person. Rest in peace Frank.
Maria Elena Perez aka HelenBrownsville, TX
My deepest condolences, Tita. May God Bless You!!! Love, Mary Torres
Mary TorresBrownsville, TX
My deepest condolences to the Maldonado Family. He was a true gentleman and all around great man. May he rest in eternal peace.
Melissa Bewley MuzquizBrownsville, TX
My sincerest condolences Frank and JD. Your dad, my uncle the special man. He loved to dance, did not like chicken, but loved his sports. He also loved quoting the Bible and Bible verses. He was truly a religious person. Life has come full circle now for Uncle Frank and he is now with the rest of his family, his brothers and sister, his parents and his beloved wife. May he now pray for us and keep us safe and rest assured that now Heaven has gained another angel to look down upon us, guide, protect and care for us. I will truly miss this larger-than-life individual who actually taught me how to dance Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Boleros. RIP Uncle Frank. You will be missed but not forgotten and we know that you will be looking down upon us guiding us in every way you can.
Mirna MaldonadoHouston, TX
Frank and JD: my thoughts and prayers are with you. Your dad is one of the adults in my life who had a big influence on me as a kid. He was always such a Gentleman, with always a kind word. He will be missed but remembered with great memories.
Kathy QuintanaArlington, TX
My sincere condolences for your great loss. It is never easy when we lose someone we love. May your treasured memories bring your family joy in the months and years to come. And may our Creator’s promise as found at Revelation 21:3,4 bring your family hope.
Norma PeraltaMorgan Hill, CA
My condolences to Irma and the Maldonado Family. He truly was a great gentleman!
Elena Resendez ZorolaSanta Monica, CA
Our condolences to Tita, Frank, Jr., J.D. and all the family. Frank was always a kind friend to my wife Melba and I. Always offering support and words of wisdom. He was always glad to see us and our growing family. He was a constant supportive figure as we "grew up" at St. Joseph Church. His gentle and unassuming spirit and smile will always have a special place in my memories of him. May God bless and protect all his family and his descendants. Peace, J. David Lucio
J. David and Melba LucioBrownsville, TX
To the Maldonado family and Tita
We lost a true angel! He was the model of a beautiful gentleman to his family, his students, his players, and to his friends. The Class of 63 held him with special memories and enjoyed having him attend our reunions. He was always there for us. I am sure he is now playing ball in heaven. He is now resting and still looking over us. I truly will miss his phone calls and conversations about sports - of course.
My sincere condolences. Judi ( J. Rod)
Judi (J. Rod) RodriguezBrownsville, TX