Lucy Rede Franco: The Other Sister

22 Nov

Much has been written about Lucia “Chita” Rede Madrid (see: “My Desert Flower” blog). Two articles in National Geographic, and media coverage of her “private lending library” catapulted her to worldwide fame, leaving her equally accomplished sister Lucy Rede Franco in the background.

I first learned about Lucy when I found a booklet inscribed: “To my dear cousin Ofelia: from Lucy Franco”.  I found this booklet among my mother’s (Ophelia) belongings.

An article entitled ALL IN THE FAMILY relates the legacy of Antonia Lujan Rede, mother of Lucia Chita Rede Madrid, and Lucy Rede Franco.  It tells how as an adolescent, Antonia traded goat’s milk in exchange for English lessons. She continued her pursuit of a higher education, and at age seventeen– the young lady who got her first pair of shoes at age nine was teaching English in the mining town of Shafter, Texas. (“La Plazuela” to locals)  Shafter was founded by her husband’s grandfather, Francisco Rede, (an Indian Captive).  (see: “Los Redes” blog)   Little did the young lady know that she was nurturing a legacy that lives on to this day!

In 1921 the teaching tradition was passed on to Lucy when upon receiving her teaching credential she was assigned to the little Redford schoolhouse. Continuing the tradition; her brother, Edmundo Rede was a teacher in Socorro, Texas.  Alberto Rede taught in San Pedro California.  Delfina Rede Chavez (mother of Denise) taught in Las Cruses, New Mexico, and Lucia (Chita) Madrid taught in Redford, Texas.

Lucy married Manuel Franco in 1924.  Together they had eight children, all of whom obtained college degrees!

Lucy and Manuel Franco retired to live in Presidio, Texas. Their lovely home is directly across the Lucy Franco High School–a fitting tribute to a dedicated teacher.

Lucy received her B.A. at the Sul Ross University at age 54!  In 1959 she was named “TEXAS MOTHER OF THE YEAR” by the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs.  In 1960, Lucy was named “Texas Mother of the year” by the American Mother’s Committee of New York.

As of this year, the Franco children have established “The Lucy Rede Franco Scholarship Endowment” at her Alma Mater – The Sul Ross State University, in Alpine, Texas.

The legacy lives on.


Prima Elisa



17 Responses to “Lucy Rede Franco: The Other Sister”

  1. Jerry Lujan November 22, 2010 at 10:46 PM #

    Lucy Rede Franco was my father’s teacher in La Plazuela, o sha fe ter, to those who could not pronounce Schaffter in English. Prima Lisa forgot to mention that Luce Rede Franco followed her mother’s (Antonia Lujan Rede….married to Eusebio Rede). Antonia was the FIRST BILINGUAL TEACHER IN THE BIG BEND, having taught there since the late 1800s.

    My father, Frank N. Lujan, told the story about when Luce was back teaching in El Polvo, or Redford (named after Robert Redford’s great-grandfather….j/k) and he had her again as a teacher after the Lujan clan moved back from the mines. Luce told my dad and Enrique Madrid Sr. ( Chita Rede Madrid’s husband) to go get get some “disciplinary switches…o unas ramitas, para correjir a los estudiantes. My father and Enrique got the ones that would hurt the most. Ironically, the two of them were the ones that had the first taste of the switches by Luce’s hand.

  2. ofelia (Olivas) Eversole July 1, 2011 at 10:11 PM #

    I love the information that you have posted, my relatives are from these areas as well. I do not have all the past information that you have, yet you do fill in the geography and your photos are excellent.

    My family Ramirez, Gomez and Rivas. Plus Olivas, Molino are from Presidio Shafter, and Marfa Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico and Ojinaga Chihuahua Mexico. My mothers fathers sister married a Dutchover .


    Ofelia (Olivas) Eversole

  3. Rosalinda Holloway Scott September 17, 2011 at 11:03 AM #

    Thank you so much for posting the wedding picture! I am Lucy’s grand-daughter. My mother is Carmelina Franco. She sent me the link to this site. I will be a frequent visitor to your site! I am a teacher as well, following the family tradition.

    • La Prima Elisa April 20, 2012 at 8:33 PM #

      Hola! Just getting around to reading some mail! How great to hear from you! I used to correspond with your father–he had an incredible sense of humor–I still have his letters!


    • Debra Pimentel June 3, 2012 at 12:51 AM #

      I am sorry. Reading over the replies I see the name Holloway and know immediately that you are of the Family I met years ago in Silver City at the Rede Family Reunion. I spoke with your mom and aunties. Alberto was also there. I have been trying to make a connection with your side of the family. I even wrote some letters but never got a reply back so I am very excited to see this and hope that you will let your mother and family know so we can once again have contact. I am on Facebook, and my email address is hope to here from you soon, a lost cousin in California… lol. I am grand daughter of Pedro Rede, Eusebio’s younger brother. We have many cousins making the connection through facebook, so hope you can join us. I would love to meet and talk with some of you. Debbie

  4. louise o'connor January 11, 2012 at 1:22 PM #

    could anyone give me a more detailed bio of lucy rede franco? i need to fill in more details on her life for a history i am writing. thank you

  5. Mario February 15, 2012 at 2:18 PM #

    I am Mario R, Rede son of Edmundo Rede Jr. who is the son of the Edmundo Rede that is mentoned in the article above. its nice to read about my family history.

    • La Prima Elisa April 20, 2012 at 8:24 PM #

      Hola: How nice to hear from a Rede. WAs your Grandpa the teacher I hear so much about? DId he teach around Presido , or Haciendita?

      • Edina (Dina) Rede Gonzalez July 7, 2012 at 5:03 PM #

        Prima Elisa,
        I am Edina Rede Gonzalez, daughter of Edmundo Martin Rede, sister of Edmundo Rede Jr., Ruben Rede, and Hector Rede. I consider it fate that I have encountered this site having retired after 27 years of teaching and feel blessed to feel the connections of our history through you and others. Equally exciting was seeing my nephew Mario’s reply. In answer to your question….yes, my father was a teacher at la hacienda, where he met my mother, Josefina. It would be so exciting to connect with you and others who are integral “en nuestra familia”.

  6. Debra Pimentel June 3, 2012 at 12:38 AM #

    What a wonderful Story Elisa, I would ;like to know more about Francisco Rede Founder of the town of Shafter, that would be interesting, and give me a great sense of pride yo know a bit more of this tale, if you have information on this I would loved to see an entrie. Tks again for all that you have given to each of us.

  7. Sandra Martinez December 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

    I have just been e-mailing Debra Pimentel and have found out that we are related by my Grandfather Andres Orosco by his mother Torrivia Rede. could I possibly any information about her, my mother and I would love to know about this side of the family.

  8. Henry Rede March 12, 2013 at 9:45 AM #

    What were the names of Francisco’s Rede Sons?

  9. Luis Perez May 10, 2013 at 6:42 PM #

    Alberto Rede was my first Spanish teacher in San Pedro California. He opened my eyes to the culture, the literature, and beauty of the Spanish language. He had more an impact in my life than any other teacher. I have never forgotten him. Que Dios me lo cuide.

  10. Juana Gonzalez August 18, 2013 at 7:07 AM #

    OMG, This is so interesting. I am Juana Gonzalez. My mother is Rosa Rede Veleta. She is Simon Rede & Jesusita Huerta’s last born daughter. My grandmother died about 3 days after my mom was born. The only other family member I personally know is Isidora (Tia Lola) Carmona. I would love to have more information on my ancestors. I woould love to leave the information to my children and grandchildren. Thank you.

  11. Jessica Rede Escalante October 5, 2013 at 12:43 PM #

    well it’s good to find that we have more family as time goes by I wish that my dad was still alive to have seen all that has been accomplished I grow up not knowing there was so much family on the release eyes I only knew my dad brothers and sisters family

    • Jessica Rede Escalante October 6, 2013 at 2:39 PM #

      Sorry!!! meant to say on the Rede size . My great great grandpa is Franiso Rede, great grandpa Nobor o. Rede ,& grandpa Simon A. Rede .

  12. msmargie55 October 17, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

    Hola, my name is Margie Villa. I am the great granddaughter of Francisco Rede, My grandmother was Alejandra Rede. who married Jesus Villa. their son was Ynes Rede Villa, my dad. I have been doing ancestry research for the past 3 years. Just a year ago, I got on Facebook and I found Rede cousins. and through my cousin Debra Pinmental, I have gotten so much info.. I Did not become a teacher or no prestigious position but to me it was being a wife and mother. 4 children and now the best one yet being a grandma of 10 grandchildren. they’re the light of my life.. however I do like writing, so I guess that’s in my blood. although, I have family members that are teachers, professors, and a sibling who was a lawyer, who ran for several office positions for the state of Ca. later was appointed by the governor to become a Judge for city. and a niece who was elected to the state representative for the state of Maine. and not just in my imitate family but also my extended villa clan like my Tias and Tios ( the villas). theVilla clan all lived in Artesia, New Mexico. in the 1940s all the Villa clan came to California. my parents worked hard along with my sisters and brothers, where ever the harvest took them. My parents settled in the san Joaquin valley/south valley. I was the last born in the 1950s and 6 month’s later I contracted polio. I had a lot of life’s challenges. but I have had a great life. i grow up poor in the northside of town. but I have great memories with my family and the values my parents instilled in me . I* have past down to my children I am so proud of the blood line I carry… if anyone knows my grandparents Jesus Villa he was born 1860-4 in Mexico. M more y grandmother Alejandra Rede Villa. I would love to get more info. please let me email is and I’m on Facebook.

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