J. C. Martin, Jr.

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Joseph C. Martin, Jr.

Mayor of Laredo, Texas
In office
1954–1978
Succeeded by Aldo Tatangelo

Born August 1, 1913
Laredo, Texas
Died November 11, 1998
Laredo, Texas
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Anita Ligarde Martin
Children J. C. "Pepito" Martin, III

Mrs. Michael V. Galo

Alma mater Laredo High School
Religion Roman Catholic

Joseph C. Martin, Jr., known as Pepe Martin or Joe Martin (August 1, 1913 – November 11, 1998), was the mayor of Laredo, Texas, from 1954 to 1978. He was widely known as el patron, a term which refers to a Democratic Party political boss in south Texas who performs small favors for the public in return for absolute political loyalty.[1]

A Laredo native, Martin was the paternal grandson of Raymond Martin, a wealthy Laredo landowner. His parents were J. C. Martin, Sr. (1886-1957) and Minnie B. Martin (1889-1973). Martin, Jr., and his wife, the former Anita Ligarde (1915-2004),[2] had a son, J. C. "Pepito" Martin, III, and a daughter, who is the wife of Michael V. Galo, a Laredo retired physician. Mrs. Martin's brother was former Texas State Representative Honore Ligarde, whose legislative tenure after 1963 overlapped with Martin's mayoral period.

Martin graduated from the former Laredo High School, which was then located at the site downtown occupied by La Posada Hotel. The institution was moved northward to become Martin High School, named for Martin's paternal grandparents, Raymond and Tirza Martin. The senior J. C. Martin was a businessman and rancher who was elected sheriff of Webb County in south Texas. Martin, Jr., was elected mayor on April 6, 1954, just prior to a natural disaster, the flooding of the Rio Grande, which caused extensive damage to both Laredo and its sister city, Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. Martin won re-election for six four-year terms until he declined to run again in 1978.[3]

A month after the reform candidate Aldo Tatangelo was elected mayor in 1978, Martin was indicted by a federal grand jury on a single count of mail fraud. He pleaded guilty and paid a $1,000 fine and $201,118 to the city in restitution for use of city employees on his private properties. He was further sentenced to serve thirty weekends in the Webb County Jail.[1] As a result of the strong mayor-council system of government that had existed in Laredo for more than eighty years, the revised Laredo City Council in 1979 approved a new city charter which established the still existing city manager government. The transition was made in 1982-1983.[1]

Martin resided in the older Heights neighborhood of Laredo in a large white house with Corinthian columns near the intersection of Clark Boulevard and Meadow Street.

The Martins are interred in their family plot at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo.

The Joseph C. Martin, Jr. Elementary School in Laredo is named in his honor.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Independent Club. The Handbook of Texas='.
  2. Lifespan dates are from the Martin gravestone in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo, Texas.
  3. http://airwolf.lmtonline.com/news/archive/111298/pagea1.pdf