Mission is proud of all its natives that have excelled and become productive citizens. Some have remained in Mission while others have gone one to fulfill the dreams away from Mission. These “hometown boys who have made good” in a big way, even achieving “celebrity” status along the way, have all been proud to call Mission home – and so are we!
John H. Shary
John H. Shary came to the Valley in 1912. While there was a small local market for the citrus fruit, no one had realized its potential for mass production as a commercial crop. It was Shary who foresaw this development. He had the means to begin production of citrus on a large scale and did so. He purchased 16,000 acres of brush-land and named it Sharyland. Valley citrus is now shipped all over the United States and several foreign countries, and John Shary is recognized as the father of the Texas citrus industry. John Shary was a benefactor of the Sharyland Independent School District, which proudly bears his name. He built a beautiful home on FM 494 (now Shary Road) to which many dignitaries were invite. Mr. and Mrs. Shary’s daughter married Allen Shivers, a governor of Texas.
Even if you were not a Dallas Cowboy fan you probably admired Tom Landry, who was the Cowboy coach for twenty-nine years. He took the Cowboys to the Super Bowl five times and won twice. Coach Landry began his football career as a quarterback on the Mission High School football team, played for the University of Texas Longhorns, and was player/coach for the New York Giants before returning to Texas to become the first coach of the Cowboys. Be sure to visit the mural on Conway and Tom Landry.
Lloyd Bentsen graduated from Sharyland High School in Mission and the University of Texas. After serving as a B-24 pilot and squadron commander in World War II, he returned to the Valley. He served as County Judge for Hidalgo County. Politics then took him to the United State Congress, where he served three terms. After sixteen years in the business world, he was elected to the United State Senate in 1970, serving as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. In 1988 Senator Bentsen was the Democratic nominee for Vice-President. In 1993-94 he served in the cabinet of President Clinton as Secretary of the Treasury.
E. (Kika) De La Garza
E. (KIKA) De La Garza was born in Mercedes but attended school in Mission before becoming a student at Edinburg Junior College (now the University of Texas Pan-American). He graduated from St. Mary’s University. He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving six consecutive terms, before his election to the United State House of Representatives, where he continued to serve until his retirement in 1996.
Leonardo (Leo Najo) Alaniz
Leonardo (Leo Najo) Alaniz moved on from Mission, Texas to become a baseball hero in Texas and Mexico. He played several years in the Texas League before moving to the major leagues where he played off and on for four years before going to the Mexican League in 1939 as a manager. Although Mr. Alaniz was a native of Mexico, he lived in Mission for sixty-five years.