Mayor Joe V. Sanchez

A Legacy of Literacy, Education, and Community Service

A passion for helping others through literacy and education…

Mayor Joe V. Sanchez stated in his book VIPs of the Barrio, “Education opened the doors to better futures and a life of higher expectations.” He believed anyone, regardless of background, could have the opportunity to reach their goals with the foundation of literacy and education.

Sanchez was born on November 19, 1932, to Maria and Jose Sanchez in Weslaco, Texas. The oldest son of eight children, he was bright and developed a love for reading at a young age. He and his wife, Elida Reyna Sanchez raised their five children, Joe, Ana Maria, Sylvia, Enedina, and Boye Obed in their beloved city of Weslaco.

He was a migrant farmworker, semi-professional baseball player, Korean War veteran, business owner, teacher, superintendent, mayor, author, historian, storyteller, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

He graduated from Pam American College with the help of the GI Bill, continued his graduate studies at Texas A & I University in Kingsville, and then furthered his education at the University of Houston Doctoral Program. He worked as a teacher and administrator at Weslaco ISD and other neighboring districts. His impact on education continued where he served as the director of the Hidalgo County Head Start Program. Sanchez directed and established the HEP Program at the University of Houston and Pan American University. He served as Assistant Superintendent at Hidalgo ISD and Superintendent of Schools at Progreso ISD.

A passion for reading and writing…

Joe V. Sanchez instilled in his children, family, students, and community his passion for literacy, writing, and the importance of education.

Sanchez published three books, VIPs of the Barrio, Legacy of the Barrio, and Odyssey to El Wes, where he chronicled the stories of his migrant experiences and local history. The Mid-Valley Town Crier published his stories in a weekly column, “From the Mayor’s Desk” about the history of Weslaco, life as a migrant farmworker, baseball, or current events. Along with his wife, Elida, they started an educational supply store in downtown Weslaco, The Learning Center.

A passion for serving…

Sanchez served as mayor of his beloved city of Weslaco from 1975 until 1981 and again from 2001 to 2007. During his progressive tenure as mayor, Weslaco was honored as an All-America City. He helped bring South Texas College to Weslaco. He was honored as Weslaco Chamber of Commerce's Man of the Year in 2009. He was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame in 2005 during its inaugural year. Sanchez was an avid sports fan and athlete, playing semi-professional baseball with the Harlingen Capitols. He was later inducted into the Leo Najo Baseball Hall of Fame.

A legacy of literacy for people of all ages and future generations…
He inspired people of all ages by spreading his passion of literacy with everyone he met. Joe V. Sanchez’ legacy will continue to touch and inspire future generations.

The Mayor Joe V. Sanchez Public Library is a haven where all can come and feel welcomed to read, write, study, or gather.  
Relax, enjoy, and join us in sharing his love of literacy with others.

Authored by the family of Mayor Joe V. Sanchez
1st Annual Memorial Tribute (5)