Cover photo for Eliseo Ruiz, Jr., Ph.D.'s Obituary
Eliseo Ruiz, Jr., Ph.D. Profile Photo

Eliseo Ruiz, Jr., Ph.D.

April 20, 1942 — February 2, 2024

Los Fresnos, Texas

Eliseo Ruiz, Jr., Ph.D.

LOS FRESNOS, TX. – Eliseo Ruiz, Jr., Ph.D. has been taken by angels to heaven to be greeted by his family and friends. He died on Friday, the 2nd of February 2024 in his home, with his family, by the beautiful garden he tended to over the years. He was eighty-one years old.

Eliseo was born in Bishop, Texas and grew up in the farming community of Laureles, Texas just outside of Los Fresnos. In Laureles, Eliseo worked with his parents and siblings on the land they farmed and at their Ruiz Grocery, the general store that became the hub of the community. Eliseo would usually be up well before dawn to get ice and supplies that would be so important to his neighbors. He even got up early to prepare the barbacoa on Sundays! This commitment to help his neighbors and his generosity to all around him would become an enduring theme of his life as a scholar, athlete, and leader.

He graduated from Los Fresnos High School in 1961 and then attended Texas Southmost College for two years on a basketball scholarship. He received a B.A. in chemistry and math from Texas A&I in 1964 and a few years later a M.S. in Microbiology from Louisiana Tech. Switching from a career in science to education, Eliseo received his Master of Education and later a Ph.D. in Special Education Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 1974. He went on to work with the National Association of State Boards of Education in Washington, D.C., and Denver before returning to Los Fresnos to begin his career in educational leadership. 

Throughout his career in education, he worked for the Los Fresnos CISD as a teacher-coach, Principal, and Superintendent of Schools. He truly was a local boy who made good and then came back to help his community. As an athlete, he understood that success can only be achieved if you are a part of a great team. As Superintendent, he brought together an exceptional team of educational leaders and advisors. It was with this team that the district broke all barriers to become one of the state’s top school districts. Under his leadership, LFCISD was recognized as “Exemplary” by the Texas Education Agency. He was named Region I Superintendent of the Year in 1998.

His achievements at the LFCISD were the result of not only his outstanding leadership but also his love for the community. His friends and neighbors from Laureles and Los Fresnos will always remember his generous spirit and his determination to give every child the best education available and to open a world of opportunities for each of them. He retired from the Los Fresnos CISD in 2001 and went on to train future leaders in education as an adjunct professor at UTRGV for thirteen years.

Always a stand-out in athletics, Eliseo played basketball and many other sports at every opportunity. After retirement, he ran many half marathons with his daughter and son. 

He was very proud to be a member of the Sembradores Unidos for many years. He was a working member in numerous professional and civic organizations and was President of the Mr. Amigo Association in 1998. After his second retirement, he was selected by the Texas Supreme Court to serve as a member of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors as a member representing the general public. He went on to serve on the Law Focused Education Committee of the State Bar. 

Eliseo made life a continuing exploration, always seeking the next fun adventure. For many years, he could be found on a golf course, tennis court or at a pick-up basketball game with friends. A proud Texas Ex, Eliseo loved his Texas Longhorns. He watched every football game this championship season. Hook ‘em! He and his wife Dora traveled often with good friends to enjoy casino charters around the country, where they often led big group dinners and hosted parties in their suite. At home he enjoyed the laughter and fun of lively bunco and card games with their friends. Just recently, he was happy to meet alpacas at a nearby ranch and learn to throw axes at targets. He was proud of the pineapples that he was able to grow in his backyard. He truly succeeded in extracting all the fun out of life and will be remembered for how he made the lives of those around him better.

Eliseo is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Dora Lozano Ruiz; his son, Eliseo Ruiz III (Chris); his daughter, Diana Delinda Ruiz; his brother, Frank Ruiz (Isaura); his sisters, Eloisa Likens and Mary Herebia; and nephews and nieces Brian Likens, Steven Likens, Norma Ruiz Garcia (Lamar), and Frankie Ruiz (Mimi). 

Preceding Eliseo in death was his son, Rafael Gerardo Ruiz; his mother and father, Eliseo Ruiz, Sr. and Rosario Ruiz; and his mother-in law, Leonor S. Lozano.

Visiting hours will be held on Monday, the 5th of February 2024 between the hours of five o’clock in the afternoon and nine o'clock at night, with the recitation of the holy rosary to begin at seven o'clock Monday evening within the East Chapel of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home.

The Memorial Mass will be celebrated at eleven o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 6th of February 2024 at St. Cecilia Catholic Church, 606 W. Ocean Boulevard, Los Fresnos. All services will conclude at the church.

In lieu of floral arrangements and customary remembrances, the family requests that donations be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, which has a special place in their hearts because of the care and love that their son Rafael received from them during his life. Please donate through lovetotherescue.org in memory of Eliseo Ruiz, Jr.

The family extends a special acknowledgment and thanks to Dr. Diana Lozano and her team at Valley Medicine Associates in Harlingen for the extraordinary care and attention they gave Eliseo.

Memories of Eliseo may be shared at www.darlingmouser.com.

Personalized funeral arrangements directed by Steven R. Hieu Bailey and Staff have been entrusted to the care of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home at 945 Palm Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas 78520, (956) 546-7111. 

Past Services

Visiting Hours

Monday, February 5, 2024

5:00 - 9:00 pm

Darling-Mouser Funeral Home - East Chapel

945 Palm Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78520

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Recitation of the Holy Rosary

Monday, February 5, 2024

Starts at 7:00 pm

Darling-Mouser Funeral Home - East Chapel

945 Palm Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78520

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Memorial Mass

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am

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