HOUSTON – Senator Mario V. Gallegos, resting comfortably at Houston’s Methodist Hospital and surrounded by family members and close friends, passed away on Tuesday, October 16, following complications associated with his liver transplant performed in 2007. Gallegos was 62 years of age.
The Senator’s family is enormously grateful for the outpouring of support, thoughts, and prayers expressed during the last few days.
He is survived by his wife, Theresa Gallegos, daughter Ali Templer, daughter Melissa Gallegos, son Mario Elias Gallegos, five grandchildren: Jake Gallegos, Hollis Templer, Jesse Gallegos, Teresa Hernandez, and Cristina Hernandez. The Senator is also survived by his mother, Olga Gallegos, sister Maria Gallegos, sister Olga McGee, sister Lillian Villarreal, brother Joel Gallegos, brother Michael Gallegos, sister Cynthia Trevino, and a host of extended family.
Senator Gallegos was pre-deceased by his father, Mario Gallegos, Sr.
Details on services for the Senator are pending; they will be announced when finalized. It is the intention of the Gallegos family to hold funeral services in Houston, and a memorial service in Austin. The Senator will be buried in Houston.
A lifelong Houstonian, Mario V. Gallegos, Jr., has dedicated his career to helping others. After serving 22 years in the Houston Fire Department where he retired as Senior Captain, Gallegos continued his public service in the Texas Legislature. Elected to the Texas State Senate in 1994, he is the first Hispanic Senator elected to represent Harris County. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives.
Senator Mario Gallegos has been a champion of continued growth and prosperity for the people of Senate District 6. During his decade of service both in the House and Senate, he has sponsored and passed legislation creating economic opportunities for communities that have long been passed over for development. He has passed legislation creating municipal management districts that have revitalized communities and serve as a model for other Texas cities.
Known as one of fire safety and law enforcement’s “best friends”, he has received numerous awards for passage of legislation benefitting members of our firefighting and policing communities. Most recently he was recognized by the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters and the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas for his work during the 77th Legislative Session.
Senator Gallegos is also one of the biggest champions for senior citizen and education issues. From ensuring Medicaid funds for personal needs of residents in long-term care facilities to fighting for teacher pay raises and higher education funding, he continues to serve as an influential voice in Austin for his constituents back home.
A graduate of the University of Houston, he serves as one of his alma maters strongest voices in Austin. The University of Houston System continues to attract a growing number of students, and maintains its position as one of the premiere university systems in the state. Senator Gallegos continues to work toward ensuring that the current levels of university funding for the Houston area increase to meet the growing demands of Senate District 6.
He has received numerous awards in appreciation for his work during his legislative tenure including: Texas Municipal League’s “Distinguished Legislative Service Award”, Sierra Club’s Legislative Service Award, Texas Women’s Political Caucus Good Guy Award, Legislator of the Year by the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas and the Fiestas Patrias Distinguished Hispanic of the Year Award. Senator Gallegos continues to be active in many local, state and national organizations and is constantly working with them to help further their goals.