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.