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RODRIGUEZ, ANDRES S., JR.
RODRIGUEZ, ANDRES S., JR. (1933–2015). Andres S. Rodriguez, Jr., teacher, veteran, and poet, was born on January 14, 1933, to Andres S. Rodriguez, Sr., and Antonia Martinez Rodriguez in Laredo, Texas. He graduated from Martin High School in 1950 before enlisting in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a Spanish interpreter for two years in the 525th Military Intelligence Group. He retired as a corporal on April 30, 1953. Following his military service, he earned a B.A. in English from St. Mary’s University in 1957 and an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1981. Rodriguez pursued a lifelong love of learning and taught at several public school districts in California and Texas. He studied Spanish literature at the University of Texas at El Paso and served as the director for Goodwill Rehabilitation Services in El Paso. He married Ana Maria Barrera in 1959, and the couple had four children. He later married Maria D. Roque on December 23, 1983, and had one child. After retiring from teaching in 1988 he was employed with Webb County for a few years until completely retiring from public service.
At an early age he was fascinated by the Spanish influences of Laredo, and he drew inspiration from the people and their stories. He acknowledged the urban legends (la Llorna [“the weeping woman] and la Lechuza [“owl” or “owl witch”]) and stories of his childhood, including Los Cartoneros (the street workers who picked for garbage and sold recycled materials in Mexico) and La Edad de Oro. However, Rodriguez did not put his thoughts onto paper until later in life after encouragement from family and friends to pursue his talents. Rodriguez’s unique poems were all written in Castilian Spanish. His writing focused on love, humanity, faith, humor, and nature. His writing was published throughout newspapers in Texas and Mexico, including the San Antonio Express, Laredo Times, El Sol de Tejas in Dallas, El Diario and El Manana in Nuevo Laredo, El Zocalo in Piedras Negras, Fort Worth ISD bilingual newsletter, and other publications. His work embodied the rich cultural heritage of Laredo and furthered the goals of unity and understanding between the Hispanic and Anglo cultures. Rodriguez self-published El Amor y La Poesía in 1981; that same year, on May 2, he dedicated his poem “Noche del Paseo” to the Serenata de Culturas at Mission San José in San Antonio. He published Por Amor 106 Poesías in 1993. In 1994 the city of Laredo honored him with the honorary title of “Poet Laureate,” and on May 29, 1995, the Texas Senate honored him with the title of “Honorary Spanish Poet Laureate of the State of Texas.” His final and most beloved work, Cien Poesías, was published in 2002. He especially enjoyed writing poems about native Texas politicians, such as Henry B. Gonzalez, Judith Zaffirini, George W. Bush, and Ann Richards. His poem about George H. W. Bush is displayed in the Bush Presidential Library in College Station.
Rodriguez was recommended as Poet Laureate of San Antonio, where he made a formal presentation to the mayor and the city council of his poem "Paseo de Rio." He continued to write and mentor poets and fellow writers until his death on August 28, 2015. He was buried at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo.
Laredo Morning Times, September 1, 2015. Texas Senate Resolution No. 1342, May 29, 1995, 74th Legislative Session.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Christina Ballinger and Brett J. Derbes, "Rodriguez, Andres S., Jr.," accessed April 22, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/frozz.
Uploaded on November 17, 2015. Modified on July 6, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.