Frank Pagel

TIVOLI — Frank Pagel, 89, of Tivoli died July 25, 2022. He was born September 25, 1932 in Refugio County near Tivoli to Gus and Elenora Stanzel Pagel on the family farm purchased in 1907 by his grandparents , Ernest and Anna. Call Pagel. He graduated from Austwell-Tivoli High School in 1949 at the age of 16. Frank attended Victoria College for a year and a half, then transferred to Texas A&M. While at Texas A&M, he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, an outstanding student, and earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1953 at the age of 20. He was commissioned into the United States Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. His primary flight training was received at Hondo. Frank received his pilot’s wings at Laredo Air Force Base. Most of his Air Force tenure was spent at Perrin Air Force Base in Denison, Texas, where he flew the F86D, an all-weather interceptor. He was an instrument instructor and the name of his band was “The Flying 58”. He also spent several months on assignment at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.

After leaving active military service in 1957, Frank returned home to Tivoli. He helped his parents operate Pagel Farms. He began operating the Gulf Coast Aerial Spray Service. In 1967, he received one of the Agriculture Man of the Year Awards, given annually by the Texas County Agents Association to Texans who have made a significant contribution in the field of agriculture. Frank’s award was given for his work in controlling pasture weeds and brush on ranches in southern Texas and brush country. Also that year, he and one of his pilots, Warren Whatley, received a citation from the United States Postmaster General for flying in American Mail after flooding from Hurricane Beulah isolated small communities of Austwell and Tivoli. Landings and takeoffs were made on State Highway 35. Food and other necessities were also delivered. Later he became a dealer for Rockwell Thrush Commander, which he operated out of Progreso, Texas.

After his wife Marilyn retired from teaching, she and Frank operated Tivoli Produce, a food business in Tivoli. Frank had set up a drip irrigation system for the vegetables and fruits he grew and was best known for his tomatoes and 1015 onions. Throughout his life, Frank’s fluency in the Spanish language served him well.

Frank has been active in many civic organizations: he served on the board of the Refugio County Agricultural Services Agency for many years. He served on the committee that established the framework for the first groundwater district in Refugio County. After being appointed by Governor Rick Perry, Frank served from 2001 to 2013 on the board of the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority. He served as the Republican Party’s Refugio County Chairman for 10 years, volunteered for the Austwell/Tivoli Community Food Pantry, and served as Vice President of the Pagel Family Association. Frank served on the Refugio County Aggie Club Scholarship Committee and was an associate member of the Refugio County Retirees School Staff Chapter. He attended Tivoli Presbyterian Church.

Frank is survived by his beloved wife of 59 years, Marilyn Gentry Pagel; son, Christopher J. Pagel and daughter-in-law Alyssa S. Pagel, of Franklin, TN; two nephews, a niece, several great-nephews, a great-niece and several cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Zella Lois Pagel Darden and his niece Carol Darden Fish.

Visitation will be Friday, August 12, 2022 from 10-11 a.m. at Tivoli Presbyterian Church, followed by a Celebration of Life at 11 a.m. with Pastor Cindy Myers and Hospice Chaplain Larry Green. Interment will follow at Tivoli Cemetery with full military honors. After the interment, there will be a reception and a meal at the church.

The family would like to give special thanks to Pastor Cindy Myers, Wayne Myers, Lydia Aguirre, Jorge and Santos Zamora, Dardon Morgenroth, Marcus Torres, Justin Torres and all hospice staff: especially Frank’s regular nurses: Kimberly Lucas , Lynn Rhodes and Chaplain Larry Green.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Tivoli Presbyterian Church, PO Box 237, Tivoli, TX 77990; Tivoli Cemetery Association, c/o Etta Jean Wright, PO Box 329, Tivoli, TX 77990; or Hospice of South Texas, 602 E Locust, Victoria, TX 77901.