Bookmark and Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

JIMENEZ, BENITO ANDRES

JIMENEZ, BENITO ANDRES (1902–1967). Benito Andres Jimenez, teacher, politician, and business and community leader, was born in Floresville, Texas, on November 30, 1902, one of seven children born to Josefina (Lopez) and Manuel Jesus Ximenez. B. A. Jimenez was a life-long resident of Floresville and attended Lodi Elementary School, comprised predominantly of Mexican-American students. Before seeking political office, he began using "Jimenez" as a surname to avoid basing his political career upon his father's achievements. Jimenez graduated from Floresville High School in 1920 and attended St. Louis College (now St. Mary's University) and Alamo City Commercial College in San Antonio, where he studied business administration. During his college studies Jimenez taught school from 1921 to 1922 in Canada Verde, a small community near Floresville. Jimenez was a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and was active in many civic affairs. El Salón de la Agrupación Nacional, initially known as Club Independiente when it was founded in 1901, was a Mexican-American club that coordinated fiestas patrias. Jimenez served as president of El Salón from 1923 to 1948. In 1940 Jimenez was appointed associate member of the Advisory Board for Registrants in Wilson County in connection with the Selective Service Act. Additionally, he was elected to the board of directors of the Wilson County Tuberculosis Association in 1947 and named committee chairman of the Red Cross Fund Campaign in 1947 and 1948. He was also appointed to the Wilson County Advisory Committee for the State Education Board in 1948. Aside from his many civic contributions, Jimenez also coowned Jimenez and Zuniga grocery store from 1928 to 1943.

Jimenez's bilingual abilities enabled him to accept an appointment by Judge Sam B. Carr of the Eighty-first Judicial District as official court interpreter, a position he held from 1940 to 1967. In 1948 Special Federal Judge William R. Smith, Jr., named Jimenez state interpreter for the United States Representative's election, in which Lyndon B. Johnson narrowly defeated incumbent candidate Coke R. Stevenson. The election was hotly contested and included charges of voting fraud. Jimenez's duties involved translating court testimony given by Mexican Americans who answered questions regarding voting procedures during the election. In 1942 Jimenez was elected to his first public office as school board president of the Lodi Common School District. After six years he relinquished this position but continued serving as the board's advisor until 1955, when the school district was consolidated with the Floresville Independent School District. In 1947 Jimenez was elected justice of the peace of Precinct 1 and served in this capacity for four years. In 1950 Jimenez was elected to the Wilson County Commissioner's Court. He held the office of county commissioner of Precinct 1, the largest precinct in Wilson County, until his death in 1967. He was opposed for reelection only once, in 1952, during his seventeen-year tenure.

In 1965 the American G.I. Forum and the League of United Latin American Citizens Council 254 named Jimenez Man of the Year for his public service. In 1967 the Floresville Chamber of Commerce selected Jimenez Citizen of the Year in recognition of his civic contributions. Jimenez married Andrea Gonzalez of Poth, Texas, in 1928. They had four daughters, all of whom became school teachers. Jimenez suffered a stroke in 1965, but continued working as county commissioner from his bedside. He died of a heart attack on August 26, 1967. He is buried in the Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Floresville. Jimenez's legacy as a public servant continues as he was named in November 1993 to San Fernando Cathedral's Fifth Annual Roll Call of Honor, which recognizes individuals "who have earned distinction as pioneers, role models, advocates and inspirational leaders of the Hispanic community."

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Floresville Chronicle Journal, April 9, 1948. San Antonio Express-News, April 27, 1986. San Antonio News, December 28, 1965.

Amanda Flores-Witte

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Amanda Flores-Witte, "JIMENEZ, BENITO ANDRES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjisu), accessed July 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.