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Leaders in Education: The Patlán and Flores Families in Seguin
By Thalia Patlán Stautzenberger
Did you ever wonder how Vincent Patlán Elementary School got its name? In our series on the roots of Seguin, we turn to the leadership of the Patlán and Flores families. The Rev. Jose Salazar Flores (1898-1978) founded a church in Seguin nearly 60 years ago. His daughter Frances Flores Patlán and her husband Vincent Patlán led so many efforts for educating the youth of Seguin that the school was named for him in February 1985.
Reverend José Salazar Flores
José Salazar Flores was born on December 20, 1898 in Mier y Noriega in Nuevo León, Mexico. José and his two siblings were orphaned due to a fever in 1915. Struggling in a time of great turmoil in Mexico, he moved to San Marcos, Texas in 1918 to live with his uncle, Daniel Salazar. On January 16, 1920, he married Augustina Flores and over the years they had nine children.
One day while José worked in a stable, he saw something black up in the rafters. Curious, he retrieved it... and it was the New Testament. The book impressed him and he knew immediately that he was meant to serve the Lord. In 1924, at the age of 26, José was ordained as a deacon in the Baptist Church, becoming an ordained minister in 1935.
From 1933 to 1965, Reverend Flores served in San Marcos at the First Hispanic Baptist Church. During his tenure, he founded missions in Seguin, Kyle, Lockhart, Luling, New Braunfels, and Fentress and many other places. He began the mission in Seguin on Collins Street on March 5, 1946. With contributions from the First Baptist Church of Seguin, he founded the Iglesia Bautista Emanuel church at the corner of Rosemary and Chapman Streets. Even after his retirement, Reverend Flores continued to serve the missions until his death on December 8, 1978 at the age of 80.
So many of the nine children of Rev. José S. Flores and Augustina Flores Flores became outstanding citizens that you may recognize their names. They include Samuel Flores, the legendary Seguin City councilman for many years; Rev. Josue Flores, a minister in San Marcos; Daniel Flores, retired from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency; Esther Flores Bruce of Seguin, Rachel Flores Renteria of San Antonio and Frances Flores Patlán, educator, teacher, and wife of Vincent Patlán.
Frances Flores Patlán
Frances had finished only a year of college at Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos when she moved to Washington D.C. in 1941 to work as a clerk for the War Department. After the war she returned to San Marcos and completed her college degree. She met Vincent Patlán; they married in 1949 and moved to Seguin in 1952. She began teaching at Juan Seguin and Lizzie M. Burges Schools and did so for the next 29 years. In 1983 her name was added to the Honor Roll of Texas Teachers and it hangs in the foyer of the Texas PTA Headquarters Building in Austin, Texas. You know her daughter Thalia Patlán Stautzenberger, our City Secretary.
Frances Flores Patlán knew exactly how to find the special talent of each child. She was the strength behind the scenes and worked closely with Vincent in all of the initiatives that he began. Many times their day was not complete until they had delivered loaves of bread, a box of clothing, school supplies for a new student, or made a home visit to a family who needed someone to counsel a teenager. At the age of 85, Frances Flores Patlán continues to be involved in her church, in service to her community, and in the Texas Retired Teachers Association.
Vincent Patlán (1924-1985) grew up in Gonzales, Texas. After graduating from high school he served as a medic during World War II, receiving a Purple Heart for wounds received in action. After the war he attended Texas State Teachers College and received both Bachelors and Masters degrees. He began work as an instructor for veterans in Seguin and then found his career passion - to be a "visiting teacher" (truant officer) for the Seguin Independent School District. He proudly served Seguin ISD for 30 years.
He also served the community in various capacities, on the Community Council of Guadalupe County, Inc., Seguin Inter-Cultural Organization, American Legion Post No. 401, Seguin Housing Authority, and president of the Seguin Noon Lions Club, among many others.
Around 1973 Vincent Patlán began a program to provide food to needy families. After several years, the program caught on so well that other businesses, church groups and civic organizations began calling on him. He would be happy to know that the programs that he started many years ago still continue today, like the school supply program, the Christmas gift donations, the holiday food baskets and the clothing closet at Juan Seguin Elementary School. All of these initiatives would not have been possible if it had not been for the caring generosity of the people of Seguin.
The Seguin Independent School District honored him with the naming of the Vincent Patlán Elementary School. Mayor Betty Jean Jones and the Seguin City Council passed a resolution on February 19, 1985, stating that Vincent Patlán "earned the respect, admiration and high regard of all those with whom he came into contact and love and affection of all...who were proud to call him friend."
Thalia Patlán Stautzenberger is married to Mark Glenn Stautzenberger, City Councilman for 10 years and mayor of Seguin from 1996 to 2004. They have one son, Marcus Patlán Stautzenberger, and the tradition of service to community continues in this remarkable family.
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