Eligio Roque Escobar, conjunto musician, the fourth son and fifth child of Eleuterio and Andrea (Farías) Escobar, Sr., was born on December 1, 1926, and reared in Ben Bolt, Jim Wells County, Texas. He traced his family's origins to Escobares, a small town on the Rio Grande in Starr County. On September 24, 1944, he married Jesusa Koehler, with whom he had two daughters and two sons. He served in the United States Army of Occupation in Japan after World War II. For the first part of his life he worked principally as an oilfield truck driver around Alice.
Through the influence of an uncle, Escobar learned to play guitar and sing as a child. He honed his skills as he grew to adulthood. He became a professional musician, however, after an automobile accident in 1960 injured his legs severely and rendered him unable to pursue his previous employment. He developed his Texas-Mexican conjunto music during his convalescence and thereafter launched his professional career. Beginning in 1962, Escobar recorded more than 250 songs for a number of record labels, including Ideal, Nopal, Cometa, and Bernal. He performed with such groups and artists as Los Guadalupanos, Ruben Naranjo, Los Fabulosos Cuatro, and many others. Although he sang in both English and Spanish, his voice became most familiar to Spanish-language radio listeners. Among his best-known songs were "Cuando dos Almas," "Rosario Nocturno," and "El Gambler." Perhaps his most famous song, "El Veterano," spoke to the feelings of the Mexican-American veteran of World War II and endeared him to a sizable audience of postwar Hispanic music lovers.
He likewise toured extensively with Spanish-language musicians in the United States and Mexico. Escobar helped launch the musical career of his daughter, Linda Escobar, who gained prominence as a singer and recording artist. After eventually moving in with his family in Corpus Christi, Escobar often used his music to benefit such civic organizations as the American G.I. Forum, of which he and his brothers were members.
Firmly rooted in his South Texas culture, Escobar was an avid fisherman and hunter. Toward the end of his life, along with his music, he worked as a wildlife manager on South Texas ranches. He was revered by many for his generous spirit and easygoing manner as well as for his unique musical style. He died of cancer on October 4, 1994, and is buried in Corpus Christi. In 1999 his daughter Linda began the "El Veterano Conjunto Festival" in honor of her father and to raise money for an Eligio Escobar Scholarship Fund.