Ligarde, Honoré (1920–1986)


By: Camila Ordorica Bracamontes

Type: Biography

Published: May 4, 2022

Updated: May 4, 2022


Honoré Ligarde was a banker, lawyer, state legislator, and business and civic leader from Laredo, Texas. He was born on April 11, 1920, in Laredo to Amadée Ligarde and Sara Valeria (Saenz) Ligarde. His paternal grandfather was from France, and his mother was born in Mexico. The 1930 census recorded the Ligarde household in Laredo and listed Amadée (a county tax collector), his wife, sons Amadée Jr. and Honoré, and daughters Anita, Alice, and Sara. Honoré Ligarde attended grammar school at Holding Institute in Laredo and later enrolled at L. J. Christen. He went to Laredo High School and then was among the first group of students who were transferred from there to Martin High School. He starred in basketball, a sport he continued playing into his adult life when he participated in an adult basketball league program and played games at the old Christen Gym. He attended Texas A&M College (now Texas A&M University) for at least a year.

When the United States entered World War II, Ligarde enlisted in the United States Army on December 15, 1941, and became a member of the U. S. Army Air Corps (which, as part of the reorganization of the War Department and U. S. Army, was merged into the U. S. Army Air Forces in March 1942). Ligarde was commissioned a second lieutenant in July 1942 at Mather Field, California. He subsequently was stationed at Columbia, South Carolina. While there, he married Elizabeth Josephine Neel of Laredo on August 30, 1942. They later had two children, Janelle Alise and Honoré Richard. Ligarde was a member of the 448th Squadron, 321st Bombardment Group and, as a navigator aboard a B-25 Mitchell bomber, flew in fifty combat missions in North Africa and Italy. His service earned him the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters and the Presidential Unit Citation. He achieved the rank of captain.

Upon his return, Ligarde earned a degree in business administration at the University of Texas at Austin. He went back to Martin High School as a teacher of military training (ROTC) until 1947, when he returned to UT Austin to pursue a law degree.  

Ligarde’s career as a banker began at the Union National Bank of Laredo where he worked from 1952 to 1962 and acted as assistant vice president, vice president, and trust officer. In 1966 he helped found the Bank of Commerce of Laredo—later IBC Bank—alongside Max Mandel and Byron Miller and acted as its president until 1971. He served as chairman of its board of directors until 1978. He was senior vice president of Laredo National Bank from 1979 to 1981.

Early in his career, Ligarde was active in politics. From 1956 to 1962 he served as county chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee. In 1962 he ran for office and was elected as a state representative for Webb and Zapata counties. He began his service in the House of the Fifty-eighth Texas Legislature on January 8, 1963, and served for five terms until January 9, 1973. He was on numerous House committees during his tenure and chaired the Labor Surplus Committee (Sixty-first Texas Legislature) and State Finance Committee (Sixty-second Texas Legislature). As a legislator, Ligarde worked for the establishment of Texas A&I University at Laredo (present-day Texas A&M International University) and was chairman of the General Provisions Committee of the Constitutional Revision Commission. He also pushed for a new state minimum wage law.

In 1972 Ligarde ran for state senator but lost. However, he was appointed Webb County Commissioner of Precinct 3. Among his most important initiatives that came to completion were the creation of McPherson Road, which extended an artery from north Laredo to east Laredo, and the planting of 20,000 trees along Lake Casa Blanca.

Throughout his professional life, Ligarde was a partner of the law firm of Ligarde, Garcia, Wilson, and Gutiérrez in Laredo. After his post as county commissioner, he became general counsel for the Laredo Independent School District, a position he kept until his death. For fifteen years, he also served as vice president of Amadee Frocks, a clothing manufacturer that employed more than 200 workers in Laredo.

Ligarde was very active in civic affairs. In 1962 he served as president of the Washington’s Birthday Celebration in Laredo. That year he helped establish the organization Los Caballeros de la República del Río Grande—a group closely associated with the celebration. He portrayed George Washington during the celebration in 1964. Throughout his life he was an affiliated member of the Laredo Community Chest, Laredo Boys Club, Texas Bar Association, Laredo Development Foundation (where he served as president), Laredo Cancer Society, Kiwanis Club, Laredo USO Service Center, LULAC Council No. 12, International Good Neighbor Council, Elks Club, American Legion Post 59, and other organizations. A Catholic, Ligarde was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Described as a “great public servant” who was a “very civic-minded person” with “professional and personal integrity,” Ligarde died at the Humana Hospital in San Antonio on February 15, 1986, at sixty-five years of age after fighting a long illness. He was buried in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo. Honoré Ligarde Elementary School in Laredo was named in his honor and opened in 1988.

Austin American-Statesman, February 17, 1986. Corpus Christi Times, September 2, 1942. History, Honore Legarde Elementary School (http://ligardees.elisd.org/about_our_campus/history), accessed May 3, 2022. “Honore Ligarde,” Find A Grave Memorial (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/110596791/honore-ligarde), accessed May 3, 2022. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Honore Ligarde (https://lrl.texas.gov/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=756&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=ligard~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed May 3, 2022.

Categories:
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Education
  • Lawyers, Civil Rights Activists, and Legislators
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • Military
  • World War II
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Politics and Government
  • Civic and Community Leaders
  • Government Officials
  • House
  • State Legislators
  • Fifty-eighth Legislature (1963)
  • Fifty-ninth Legislature (1965-1966)
  • Sixtieth Legislature (1967-1968)
  • Sixty-first Legislature (1969)
  • Sixty-second (1971-1972)
Time Periods:
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
Places:
  • South Texas
  • South and Border
  • Laredo

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

Camila Ordorica Bracamontes, “Ligarde, Honoré,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ligarde-honore.

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May 4, 2022
May 4, 2022

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