HASM to dedicate oak for Ofelia Vasquez-Philo

Ofelia Vasquez-Philo

The Heritage Association of San Marcos will honor the late Ofelia Vasquez-Philo with the Arbor Day dedication of an Oak tree in the Veramendi Plaza Memorial Grove. The Heritage Arbor Day Ceremony honors a deceased distinguished resident who made outstanding contributions to the life of this community.

Everyone is invited to come to the dedication ceremony on Friday, March 9, at 5 p.m. to honor Ofelia Vasquez-Philo with her family and friends. Refreshments will be served upon arrival.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the San Marcos Activity Center at 501 E. Hopkins St.

Vasquez-Philo was born Dec. 28, 1932 in Seguin, and was the oldest of nine surviving children. She grew up on the Freeman Ranch in Wimberley, Texas where her father was ranch foreman. She married Joe Vasquez in 1950 and they raised seven children in San Marcos.

She worked part time in 1966 at the Office of Community Action. In 1970 she became executive director, a position she would hold until her retirement in 1993. During this period, she obtained her GED Certificate. Later she earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Antioch University, Austin Campus in 1978. She was the first Latina to serve on the San Marcos Independent School Board from 1969 to 1971. She was a charter member of the San Marcos Heritage Foundation, a member of the Hays County Historical Commission, the San Marcos League of Women Voters, the finance Council and the Bereavement ministry of St. John’s Catholic Church. She also worked for the preservation of Hispanic cemeteries and served on numerous city and county boards and commissions.

Vasquez-Philo was a caring person and wanted particularly for her family to pursue learning and to acquire an education. She received numerous awards and recognitions from many associations, including the Trailblazers Award for Hays County and the Light of the World Award from Bishop Gregory Aymond in 2005. She was presented the Premio Letras de Aztian Award from the National Association Of Chicana & Chicano Studies in 2012 because of her significant contributions to the betterment of the Mexican-American community in Texas.

Vasquez-Philo was loved and respected not only by her family but also by numerous other members of the community. She was very committed to educational endeavors and contributed a lifetime of devotion to community involvement including as advocate for the Hispanic community and its rich heritage. She always seemed to be working on a project that would help people better themselves and encouraging others to do likewise. As co-founder, she worked diligently to establish Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos. The museum section of Centro is named after her. Centro was a vision brought to life to preserve, develop, promote and celebrate Hispanic arts, culture, heritage and values. The Centro’s programs and educational curriculum include the areas of visual arts, dance theatre, music, literature, multi- media and the culinary arts, available throughout the year.

Co-founders of Centro Cultural Museum are Vasquez-Philo, Margie Villapondo, Dr. Rosina Valle, Lupe Costillo and Gloria Salazar. Valle is the new president of the Centro Board. Vasquez-Philo also co-authored an historical book titled “Suenos y Recuerdos del Pasado,” an account of the early Hispanic settlers in San Marcos. She possessed a love of learning which she imparted to others.

An actual quote that was used at the Amigas Christmas Social, Dec. 9, 2017, as a tribute to Vasquez-Philo, “I would like to have a place where children can learn about their heritage. While a museum with the history of our heritage is essential, I would like to provide a vibrant place for the children to learn music, the traditional folkloric dances and improve their knowledge of our history.”

Why not go this week to Centro? Visit the museum where you will see pictures and read about the early settlers. Be sure to sign up and become an amiga.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666