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Oscar J. Zuñiga, Sr. (May 30, 1922 – July 23, 2007), was a registered professional engineer and land surveyor who played an important role in the construction of several residential neighborhoods in his native Laredo, Texas. In 1988, he was honored by his peers as "Engineer of the Decade" by the Gateway Chapter of Professional Engineers.

Oscar J. Zuñiga, Sr.
Born(1922-05-30)May 30, 1922
DiedJuly 28, 2007(2007-07-28) (aged 85)
Big "O" Ranch near Laredo, Texas
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin
Spouse(s)Patricia Young Zuñiga (1928-2002)
ChildrenBernard "Zed" Zuñiga (1961-2001)

Patricia Zuñiga "Patti" Starnes
Oscar J. Zuñiga, Jr. Lydia Z. Juarez
David Michael Zuñiga
Paul Zuñiga
Helen "Bucca" Treviño
Dee Dee Hrncir
Arthur Zuñiga
Stella Zuñiga Burkhalter
35 grandchildren

21 great-grandchildren
Parent(s)Alfonso J. Zuñiga, Sr., and Conception B. de Quiroga
A professional engineer and surveyor, Zuniga was instrumental in the development of the neighborhoods of Hillside Terrace, Shiloh, and Eastwoods in his native Laredo, Texas.


Zuñiga was the fourth of thirteen children born to Alfonso J. Zuñiga, Sr., and the former Conception B. de Quiroga. The original family home at 1101 Market Street in downtown Laredo was known as La Casa de Miel or "House of Honey". He graduated from Laredo School (subsequently Martin High School) and served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Jerauld [1] in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Jerauld was launched in November 1944, from Astoria, Oregon, and steamed to Pearl Harbor, Okinawa, and Guadalcanal during 1945.[2]

After his military duties, Zuñiga completed his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Registered as a professional engineer and surveyor, Zuñiga practiced as a consulting engineer for more than thirty years. He provided mechanical and electrical engineering design and consulting services to public and private clients across south Texas. In later years, he joined with partners, including Armadillo Construction Company which he co-founded, in structuring residential neighborhoods throughout Laredo, including Hillside Terrace, Shiloh, and Eastwoods.[1]

His partners in the development of Hillside were Clinton Smith and Jorge O. de la Garza, Sr. (1930-2012), an air conditioning contractor, a former member of the Webb County Coimmissioner's Court, and a founding member of the Laredo Manufacturing Association.[3]

In addition, Zuñiga served on the boards of various financial institutions and community organizations, including City National Bank (later NBC Bank) and the Mercy Hospital Advisory Board (later Laredo Medical Center).[1]

Zuñiga was also active in the Border Olympics, a track-and-field event held in Laredo in which Southwest Conference teams compete. Sabas Zapata, III, a Laredo businessman and a Border Olympics official in the 1980s, recalled Zuñiga as one of "quiet demeanor, always offering advice and help. . . . a valued behind-the-scenes volunteer." Zuñiga died at the age of eighty-five at his home on the Big 'O' Ranch.[4]

Zuñiga was preceded in death by his wife, the former Patricia Young (October 27, 1928 - August 24, 2002); a son, Bernard "Zed" Zuñiga (1961 - 2001); grandson, Robert Paul Zuñiga (1974–2005); four brothers and three sisters. Survivors included his brother, Alfonso J. Zuñiga, Jr.; sisters Norma Lucila Benavides, Martha Cecilia Martinez (husband Robert), Florencia Treviño (husband Meme) and Sylvia Zuñiga; nine children, Patricia Zuñiga "Patti" Starnes, engineer Oscar J. Zuñiga, Jr. (wife Jay), of San Antoni o, Lydia Z. Juarez (husband George), engineer and AmericaAgain! founder David Michael Zuñiga (wife Sylvia), of Boerne, Texas, Paul Zuñiga (wife Sally), Helen "Bucca" Treviño (husband Bill), Dee Dee Hrncir (husband Bill), Arthur Zuñiga (wife Melissa), of Boerne, and Stella Zuñiga Burkhalter (husband Hunter Wyatt Burkhalter) of Austin; thirty-two grandchildren, and nineteen great-grandchildren.[1]

Zuñiga was a Roman Catholic. He was cremated; his ashes were scattered in the Gulf of Mexico at his request.


  1. ^ a b c d "Ocar Zuñiga obituary, Laredo Morning Times, July 26–27, 2007
  2. ^ "USS Jerauld". Retrieved August 3, 2007.
  3. ^ Ricardo R. Villarreal, "Jorge O. de la Garza dies at 82", Laredo Morning Times, November 18, 2012, pp. 1, 21A
  4. ^ "Recalling Garner and Zuniga, two great Border Olympics volunteers", Laredo Morning Times, August 3, 2007; Salo Otero, "Two track meet veterans die", Laredo Morning Times, July 31, 2007