Corpus Christi pharmacy owner and civic leader Jose R. (Joe) De Leon, Jr. passed away peacefully on August 3, 2019, surrounded by love from his children and grandchildren.
The eldest of four siblings, Joe was born September 21, 1928 to Velia and Jose R. De Leon, Sr. After spending his childhood in Benavides, TX, he attended Texas Military Institute in San Antonio and later served in the US Army.
After graduating from the University of Texas in 1949, he became a pharmacist and joined Joe Sr. in building a chain of drug stores that included De Leon Pharmacy in Benavides and Economical Pharmacy, Professional Pharmacy, City Pharmacy, and De Leon’s Clinic Pharmacy in Corpus Christi.
Joe served on the Board of Directors for Frost National Bank, Dean’s Advisory Board for the University of Texas at Austin, and president of the Coastal Bend Pharmaceutical Association.
He also was active in the Texas Pharmacy Association and received numerous honors including Pharmacist of the Year in 2003 for over 40 years of loyal dedication to the organization. Through his professional and civic work, he encouraged generations of young Texans to enter the pharmacy profession.
To promote the growth of the city, Joe became active in civic organizations, particularly the Buccaneer Commission. He was chairman of the commission from 1985-87 and remained a senior commissioner.
He was a founder, principal shareholder and president of the area’s first Spanish-language television station, KORO, Ch. 28, an Univision affiliate continuously in operation since 1977. He helped establish and co-owned the CC Greyhound Race Track, and was active with Los Sembradores de Amistad, a group promoting goodwill between Mexico and the U.S. He was a lifetime member of the Rotary Club and the Rotary Foundation named him a Paul Harris Fellow for promoting peaceful exchange globally.
Joe was an avid football fan and loved his University of Texas Longhorns. He also had a love for life, cattle ranching, and making people laugh.
He treated people from all backgrounds equally with grace and respect. His reputation attracted loyal customers who continue to be lifelong friends to the De Leon family.
His accomplishments were strengthened by his wife, Eulalia “Lala” Lozano De Leon. They were married in Falfurrias, TX, August 21, 1955, and had two children who survive them, Joseph Daniel De Leon and Annette (John) Hernandez. As parents and grandparents, Joe and Lala taught by example and showed the importance of kindness, education, and supporting your community.
They adored their grandchildren John Edward (Mia), Michael (Camille), and Kara Hernandez; and Danielle (Daniel) Quesada and Jessica De Leon. Their great grandchildren are Michael and Camille’s Zoe and Margaret Zara; and John and Mia’s Benjamin and Madeline.
Joe was beloved by his family, friends, and employees. His warmth and wisdom helped thousands of people over the years. He will be missed by his sisters, Zaida (Leonard) Wilson, and Sylvia (Lynn Coleman) De Leon. He was preceded in death by his sister Velia Yolanda (Dr. Xico P.) Garcia. He leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews, and an extended family.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 8, 2019 at Seaside Funeral Home. A Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 9, 2019 at St. Pius X Catholic Church. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at St. Pius X Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Seaside Memorial Park.
Pallbearers include John Edward Hernandez, Michael Hernandez, William Coleman, Lynn Coleman, Joe Wilson, and Xico R. Garcia. Honorary pallbearers are Joseph Daniel De Leon, Camille Coleman and Daniel Quesada.
Memorials may be made to the De Leon Fund at the University of Texas Pharmacy School, P.O. Box 7458 Austin, TX, 78713 or the De Leon Children’s Library at the Ben F. McDonald Library, 4044 Greenwood Dr., Corpus Christi, TX 78416.
To share words of comfort with the family please visit: www.seasidefuneral.com