BENAVIDES - A native South Texan and lifelong rancher, Julian Frank Stockwell was born Dec. 13, 1920 in San Diego and raised in nearby Benavides.
He was many things in his 92 years, chief among them a loving, charismatic man who always had a song or a joke on his lips, eager to make everyone around him smile. He went home to his Lord Feb. 6 after a brief illness.
Upon graduation from Benavides High School in May 1940, he volunteered for the United States Navy, serving on the U.S.S. Tracy during World War II. After the war, he married his sweetheart Elma, and together they made a home in Benavides. He worked several jobs, including a stint as a security guard at the Kingsville Naval Station; a position at Trinity Gas Corp. at the Sejita Plant in Ramirez, Texas; manager of the Duval Water and Conservation District; and director of the Youth Service Bureau in Duval County, where he greatly influenced the lives of many young men and women. And for nearly six decades, he was a successful Beefmaster breeder and member of the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association. He worked closely with the Agua Poquita Water Conservation District and was twice awarded Top Conservation and Rancher of the Year.
His greatest passion, though, was music. A gifted singer and guitar player, Julian began his musical career in the 1940s as a vocalist with the Don George Orchestra, a notable group that entertained at some of the largest events of that era. He also sang with the Mac Bernal Orchestra and the Fernando Caballero Combo. Aside from his professional gigs, Julian was always ready to sing at someone's wedding, or, in at least one instance, someone's funeral. He sang everyday at home, and days before his death, he sang to the nurses who tended to him at a Kingsville hospital.
Julian loved great comedy and a well-written sitcom. A fan of brain teasers, he enjoyed stumping his family and friends with the ones he had mastered. He was creative and quick-witted, always ready to share stories of his childhood and his early days singing in clubs. He loved fishing, too, and enjoyed vacations on South Padre Island with his family. An extensive traveler, he and his wife had grand adventures everywhere from Switzerland to Spain, from San Francisco to Branson. An avid reader, he especially loved books about the Old West, Texas history and astronomy. A tattered, dog-eared copy of a guide to the constellations was among his most treasured books, and he so enjoyed taking his telescope to his ranch to gaze at the night sky.
A devout Catholic, Julian was an adoring son, husband, father and grandfather adored in return by countless relatives and friends.
His parents Julian P. and Elisa Garcia Stockwell preceded him in death.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years Elma Carrillo Stockwell; his sons James A. (Rosie) Stockwell of Edinburg and Mac (Linda) Stockwell of Port Isabel; his grandchildren James Alexander (Adriana) Stockwell II of Laredo, Jamie Veronica Stockwell of San Antonio, Julian Patrick Stockwell of Palo Alto, Calif. and Mack Anthony Stockwell of Port Isabel; his brother Frank M. (Emma) Stockwell of Corpus Christi; his sister-in-law Emma C. (Juan Enrique) Gavito of Brownsville; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2013 at Garza Funeral Home in San Diego, Texas with a Rosary to be recited at 7 p.m. that evening. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 9, 2013 at Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church in Benavides, Texas. Interment will follow at Benavides Cemetery in Benavides, Texas.
Anyone wishing to leave condolences for the family may do so at www.garzafuneralhome.com