KINGSVILLE, Texas — Born on the King Ranch in 1927, Lauro Fred Cavazos returned to his hometown Friday to be laid to rest.
He’s known for being a trailblazer in the Hispanic community, but will be remembered for much more.
Cavazos died last week at the age of 95.
After graduating from high school in Kingsville, he served stateside during the end of World War II.
Cavazos graduated with a bachelors and masters from Texas Tech University. Then, he moved on to Iowa State University for his PhD.
He later became the first Hispanic president of Texas Tech University and the first Hispanic member of the U.S. Cabinet, serving as the Secretary of Education.
Cavazos served under the last year of President Ronald Reagan and into President George H. W. Bush's term.
Cavazos’ large family attended Friday's service with his cousin, Evanita Ramos, sharing what she’ll miss most about him.
“His kindness and his reflections, his intellect," she said. "His ability to communicate, his thoughts and his passions to everyone. He always had an opportunity to give you a little bit of history, a little bit of himself, a little bit of inspiration.”
Ramos said they often liked to tell each other history stories of their family. Cavazos' father served as a foreman on the King Ranch while he was growing up.
Cavazos was always happy to teach. So much so, he wrote a few books that will continue teaching some for years to come.
“I'd really like to thank him and his family (for) his book writings," said Ramos. "Because they created a history that my children and other quinteras and cousins and relatives can refer back to the time when he grew and when he was here. And how they celebrated life on the King Ranch.”
Ramos said she always looked up to Cavazos, especially because of how he demonstrated leadership at Texas Tech.
"He wanted to be close to his students and he wanted to be close to his teachers and role model," she said. "And that’s what I see him as. I called him my 'gentle giant' because that was his role, is to teach and express himself and encourage everyone to follow their dreams.”
Cavazos leaves behind his wife Peggy, 10 children, 15 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.