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Founder of Muy Grande store in Freer passes away

Posted at 6:02 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 11:19:53-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In the small town of Freer, Leonel Garza is a big name. Family and friends remember him as “Muy” and the “hunter’s friend.”

He was the founder of Muy Grande, a convenience and hunting store in the heart of the community. He also created the annual Muy Grande deer contest in 1965.

Coming out of the restrooms at the store, if you look up and to your right, you’ll see pictures of celebrities you might recognize.

They’re pictures of all the celebrities the deer contest has attracted, from singer George Strait, to famous Nascar drivers, and wrestlers.

Leonel Garza died at the age of 82 this past weekend, two black bows resting on the store’s front doors in his memory.

His son-in-law, Kenneth Sharber — who took over the store for Garza in 2007 — described him as a people person and an avid outdoorsman.

Sharber honors Garza for his time in the military and the many videos he made of his hunting experiences.

“He pushed people to grow bigger deer. The competitive side of a man went after the deer and if you have good game management, you have good deer,” Sharber said.

Sharber looked at the many pictures of Garza around the store, remembering him fondly and said it was "a lot of fun working together for all these years.”

His other son-in-law, Jorge Escobar, also remembers working with Garza.

He said Garza showed him the skills he needed to hunt deer.

The yearly contest put Freer on the map, not just locally or within the state of Texas, but worldwide, he said.

“You’ll never ever replace Muy. He was a legend. He was one that brought the deer industry to what it is today,” Escobar said.

Garza leaves behind five daughters and grandchildren. His family is still making funeral arrangements and will announce them soon.