Abel Garcia Acosta passed away on Feb. 10, 2021. He was born to Eugenio Acosta and Luz Garcia Acosta on April 1, 1935, in Fort Stockton, Texas. He was the youngest of eight children, and was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Tomás, Cisto, Francisco, David, José, Petra, and Guadalupe; daughter-in-law Veronica Acosta; and beloved wife Francisca Viola Acosta
He graduated from Grandfalls-Royalty High School on May 19, 1955, lettering in football, basketball, tennis, track, and the band (trombone). He also was on the fencing team.
After starting college at San Angelo State University, he returned to Grandfalls on a weekend in 1956. There he met the beautiful Francisca Viola Granado at a dance in Imperial, Texas. They married shortly after on Nov. 4, 1956, and so the adventure of a lifetime began.
They moved to Odessa, Texas, where he worked at a grocery store and attended Odessa College, riding his bike for transportation. He moved with a family now in tow, Viola and Joel, to Lubbock, Texas, working at Funk Seed Company and United Supermarket while attending Texas Tech University. The family continued to grow with Abel “Rocky”,” Jr., and Gene. Determined to further his education and provide for his family, dad received his bachelor’s degree in science on May 30, 1964, from Texas Tech University.
Always the hard worker, dad began working with the Lubbock ISD, and in the summers, United Supermarkets. The family grew again, welcoming Miguel Antonio Fernando in March 1968. Dad was awarded the Ford Foundation Educational Grant in 1969, which entailed studying educational systems and methods in Los Angeles, Calif., Washington, D.C., Mexico City, Mex., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The family fully expanded once more with Orlando Javier born in Los Angeles in October 1969. Returning to Lubbock in 1970, he received his Masters of Education on Dec. 22, 1970, from Texas Tech. He even tried his hand at restaurant ownership, opening Acosta’s Mexicatessen with Viola as head chef, and the boys as a labor force.
Dad then became the director of the migrant education program for Lubbock ISD, and years later was director of the bilingual education program. Known for his interpersonal skills and passion to serve, he spoke at conferences in Los Angeles, Chicago, Ill., and Washington D.C., as well as other venues. In the early 1970s, he hosted a syndicated community awareness television program named Kaliedoscopio. He was involved with this program till the mid-1980s. He also had a stint on the radio with Ernesto Barton at the local Lubbock Spanish radio station prior to moving to his television program. He was admired for his knowledge, as well as his good looks, sharp dressing, and a captivating smile.
In 1975, he accepted a position as director of Admissions at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, and continued with his television program. In Alpine, mom, Joel, and Rocky each received their bachelor’s degrees from Sul Ross. Dad began coaching Gene and Javier in tennis, his favorite sport to play until his shoulders wore out. He would watch countless hours of tournament play live or televised.
While in Alpine, he opened The Sport House, using the cheapest labor he could find, a wife and five boys. The Sport House became a chain, and Rocky managed the store in Fort Stockton.
In 1980, dad took a position as a counselor in Fort Stockton High School while continuing his position at The Sport House. Gene, Anthony, and Javier each graduated from Fort Stockton High School, and all went on to college. Gene received his degree from South West Texas State University, and Anthony graduated from the University of North Texas.
Mom and Dad moved to Duncanville, Texas, in 1986, and he took a job as a high school counselor with Dallas ISD. He began to use his Texas professional counselor title in 1983.
Mom and Dad semi-retired and bought property in Waxahachie, Texas, in 2006. They settled down into retirement, traveling with a unique devotion to family and friends. Mom cooked daily for dad, and they enjoyed family holidays and gatherings with their five boys, welcoming four daughter in-laws, 12 grandchildren and, last month he welcomed his first great granddaughter.
He lost the love of his life, best friend, and the best cook he ever knew in 2017. They had just celebrated 60 years of marriage. He started a journal to mom, continuing their conversations.
Rocky, there are not enough words to express our gratitude for taking care of our dad these last four years. We know it wasn’t easy, and we greatly thank you.
Abel started life in a dirt floor adobe home in a very large family. The baby of the family and last Acosta remaining from Eugenio and Luz, he was the only one to receive a college degree and a postgraduate degree. He knew what poverty was, and he pushed himself and his sons to achieve and to aspire to the greatest of their potential. He influenced so many lives, and set a standard for his five sons to live by as evident to the generations succeeding and following his example today.
He is survived by Joel and Melanie Acosta and children Emily, Evelyn, and Layne Conley, Lane and Luke; Abel “Rocky,” Jr.; Eugene and Carla Acosta and children Isabella, Gabriel, and Elias; Miguel Antonio Fernando and children Alex and Aaron; Orlando Javier and Irene Acosta and children Mikayla, Ariana, and Racquel; and great granddaughter Aurora Brielle.
Visitation will be Thurday, Feb. 25, 2021, from 2-4 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, Fort Stockton. Rosary will be prayed at 3 p.m. The funeral service will be held Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Downtown Campus, Fort Stockton.