TREVIÑO, FELIX BENJAMIN

James Spencer
Felix Benjamin Treviño (1920–2013).
Felix Benjamin Treviño, World War II veteran, business owner, and San Antonio city councilman. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

TREVIÑO, FELIX BENJAMIN (1920–2013). Felix Benjamin Treviño, civic leader and San Antonio city council member, was born in San Antonio on October 14, 1920, to Juan de Dios Treviño and Manuela (de la Garza) Treviño. He graduated from Lanier High School and was an apprentice printer. He applied for a job as a typesetter but was rejected based on his ethnicity. Following this incident, Treviño started his own business, Treviño Printing Co., in 1938, when he was eighteen years old. He married Alice Pina in 1941, and they had two children—Margarita, who was born in 1941, and Felix Jr., who was born in 1943.

While Treviño Printing was successful, the paper rationing brought on by World War II caused his business to decline. Treviño took a position as a printer at Kelly Air Force Base. Following a pay dispute over a raise, he quit the job and was sent a draft letter. Even though his three brothers—Juan, Jose, and Fernando—were already in the military and he was not required to serve, Treviño accepted and was assigned to training at Camp Fannin in Tyler, Texas, where he arrived on August 14, 1944.

As part of the United States Army’s Company E, 274th Infantry Regiment, Seventieth Infantry Division, Treviño served in Europe. He fought at Marseille, France, from December 10–15, 1944, and helped liberate of the city from German control. He also participated in the capture of the cities of Forbach, Stiring-Wendel, and Saarbrücken. Treviño was in Europe until the surrender of Nazi Germany and was on his way to the Pacific Theater when he heard that Japan had surrendered. Treviño was honorably discharged on February 28, 1946.

Following his return home, he reopened Treviño Printing Co. and had another daughter, Imelda, in 1948. As a business figure, Treviño became active in the Mexican American community on San Antonio’s West Side. He taught citizenship and English classes to Mexican immigrants and combatted poverty by establishing a federal credit union for the members of the poorest church parish in San Antonio. 

In 1964 Treviño ran for office for the Bexar County Commissioners Court but lost. The following year, he won the San Antonio city council seat for District 7 and took office on May 1, 1965, and served until April 30, 1971. The next day, Treviño took office as city councilman from District 8, from which he resigned on February 3, 1972. During his time on the city council, Treviño became known for improving the impoverished San Antonio West Side. His support from the San Antonio Good Government League proved controversial, but he felt strongly about working for progress for minorities from within the system. After his career on the city council, Treviño pursued a college education, and, at the age of fifty-six, he graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). 

Treviño maintained his profession in printing, and in addition to his business, he served as publications director for the San Antonio Independent School District. He also taught a class in print shop at Lanier High School. In his later years and with a grandson-in-law, he operated another printing business—Texas-Litho. Treviño held the positions of president of the Pan-American Optimist Club, president of the board of directors for the Tejano Music Awards, and vice-president of the National Municipal League of Cities. 

Felix Benjamin Treviño, a Catholic, died at the age of ninety-two in San Antonio on August 15, 2013. A funeral Mass was held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and he was buried in San Fernando Cemetery No. 2 in San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

San Antonio Express-News, August 15, 16, 2013. Felix Treviño, Interview by David Zavala, October 13, 2001, San Antonio, VOCES Oral History Project, University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas at Austin. 

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Handbook of Texas Online, James Spencer, "TREVIÑO, FELIX BENJAMIN ," accessed May 21, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ftr44.

Uploaded on March 12, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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