LOS FRESNOS, TX. – Adolph Weldon Bannert, Jr., 86, of Los Fresnos, Texas, passed away on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Adolph was born on April 18, 1935 in Gatesville, Texas. He was raised in a large German family of nine children – six boys and three girls – in Brownsville, Texas. The family moved to Los Fresnos after his sophomore year. At Los Fresnos High School, Adolph participated in FFA, choir where he was vice-president as a senior, and an actor in the senior play. He graduated from LFHS in 1953. Soon thereafter, Adolph married his first wife and together they had a baby girl; they were divorced after a short marriage.
Adolph’s passions in life were his church, his family and friends, and working on automobiles. As a young man, Adolph was active in the First Baptist Church in Los Fresnos. He often led the music for the evening services, a job that was probably assigned to him by his brother-in-law, Roger Williams, who was the church’s music director at the time. In 1956, at a church outing for the young people at the resaca home of Kenneth and Sula Shuckman – the Shuckman’s opened their home for frequent church outings for multiple generations – Adolph met Mary Lou Keillor from Chicago.
In July of 1957, Adolph married Mary Lou. They resided in the Chicago suburb of Cicero, Illinois where they started a family and Adolph worked as an automotive mechanic. In the summer of 1959, Adolph and Mary Lou bought their first home in the suburb of Roselle and over the next six years expanded their family to three daughters. In 1965, Adolph and his family returned to Los Fresnos, and in 1966 he built the home in which he resided until his death.
After a brief period of working in construction, Adolph returned to his passion of repairing automobiles and worked for his brother, William Bannert. In October 1968, Adolph and Mary Lou opened Adolph’s Bannert Automotive on Levee Street in Brownsville, Texas. Adolph and Mary Lou ran the business together, with Adolph running the shop and Mary Lou running the office. They employed several mechanics and body-shop workers. With his large frame machine, Adolph became well-known for rebuilding wrecked cars and making them road-worthy again. For entertainment, Adolph drove his old cars in demolition derbies at the Lions Club in Los Fresnos and raced cars on oval dirt tracks at Rio Grande Speedway in Edinburg, Texas in the Thunder Class division with his children and grandchildren cheering him on.
After nearly 35 years in business, Adolph and Mary Lou sold the shop in June of 2003. Adolph helped and worked for the new owner for over two years until Mary Lou began her battle with cancer. During the next several years, Adolph devotedly took Mary Lou on many trips to Houston for treatment. Due to demand from friends and family for auto repair work and vehicle maintenance, Adolph stepped back into tinkering and repairing vehicles in his brother-in-law’s warehouse on Brazil Street. His son-in-law, Gerald Miller, contributed and helped source equipment to turn the space into a small retirement shop.
One of the highlights during his retirement period was the 50th wedding anniversary party of Adolph and Mary Lou in July of 2007 in the Los Fresnos Community Center across the street from the warehouse shop. The building was filled to capacity and all his grandsons served the dinner while donning the same cobalt blue t-shirts with the words, “#1 grandson” printed on the front.
On November 7, 2010 Mary Lou lost her battle with cancer. Adolph became a widower but continued to be taken care of by his daughters who lived in Los Fresnos, Linda Miller and Kathy Zepeda, who visited often, if not daily; certain weekly dinners and Sunday morning breakfasts became a ritual. He would even travel to Alabama to visit and enjoy homemade Southern cooking from his daughter Ramona Carter on her deck overlooking Lake Oliver, off of the Chattahoochee River. His daughters cared well for Adolph over the next six years, and he continued to keep busy in his small warehouse shop.
In October 2016, Adolph married his third wife, Dolores Alvarado, and continued to live in Los Fresnos and operated his small “retirement” shop. The only change was that he did not open the shop until 9:00 AM after breakfast at local eatery, Angeles Restaurant, or morning cup of coffee at Julia’s Restaurant. Recently, Adolph celebrated his 86th birthday with family and friends. He lived his life-long passion of working on cars and went to the shop until the Saturday before his passing on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Adolph was preceded in death by his father, Adolph W. Bannert, and his mother, Helen Martha Schuab Bannert; his brothers William Fred, John Edward, Eugene Daniel, Robert Eugene, and Daniel Floyd; his sisters, Helene Irene and Eleonore Elaine; and his wife, Mary Lou.
Adolph is survived by his sister, Josephine Ann Williams; his wife, Dolores, and her children and grandchildren; his daughters Linda Lou Joy Miller and husband Gerald, of Los Fresnos, Texas, Ramona Lee Carter and husband Robert, of Smith Station, Alabama, and Kathleen Mae Zepeda and husband Robert of Los Fresnos, Texas; seven grandchildren Benjamin Miller, Jennifer Miller Reasner, Joshua Miller, Tessah Zepeda, Bobby Zepeda, Kaylah Zepeda, and Isaiah Zepeda; six great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at First Baptist Church, 300 E. Ocean Boulevard, Los Fresnos, Texas 78566.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos in his honor.
Memories of Adolph may be shared at www.darlingmouser.com.
Personalized funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Darling-Mouser Funeral Home at 945 Palm Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas 78520, (956) 546-7111.
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