BY NORMAN ROZEFF
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last part in Norman Rozeff’s series on San Benito’s Sam Robertson. Read the other parts at www.valleystar.com.
The Robertson brothers family reunion had presaged Sam’s failing health and imminent death. Sam was suffering from myocarditis, poly nephritis, and a 20 year standing diabetic condition according to his physician, Dr. James L. Rentfro. Col. Robertson died on August 22, 1938, in Mercy Hospital, Brownsville.
Funeral services were held in the American Legion Hall in San Benito.
Burial was in Mission Burial Park South Cemetery, San Antonio alongside his first wife Adele, her mother Meta Wedegartner, and Maria’s mother Adi Siedler.
Resolutions of regard and respect were adopted by organizations of both Mexican and American admirers.
“Following Col. Sam’s death Maria requested that her sister Adi, daughter Mitzi, and husband Paul Walter Meyer come to live at Del Mar Beach Resort to help her manage the daily activities. They relocated from Los Angeles, California. Maria announced on Thanksgiving Day (1942) the closing of the Del Mar Beach Resort, as requested by the United States Coast Guard.
“The U.S. Coast Guard needed the beach area to maintain an Observation Post, and provided her with a lease of the property. At the time of the closing Maria was the President and Treasurer, and Col. Sam’s brother Frank was the Vice President and Secretary. Paul, her brother-in-law was the Manager.
“(On) December 20, 1943 Maria Robertson sold the lease and property, 800 acre, 1 ½ mile beach front resort Del Mar Beach (Brazos Island ) through the real estate agents Al and Lloyd Parker to wealthy Dallas Texas business investors.”
That Robertson was loved and respected by the Hispanic community of the Valley was affirmed when, on February 18, 1939, the League of Latin American Citizens sent Maria Robertson a Memorial Resolution presented by the Brownsville Council #3.
This was a special voted on Resolution at the National Convention of the United League of Latin American Citizens at Albuquerque New Mexico, and was signed by the Sec. General of the United League of Latin American Citizens, Jose B. Velasquez, and was in honoring Col. Sam for his devoted work in aiding the Latin American citizens of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Although Robertson left no offspring, his legacy lives on in the vibrant minds of the many beloved children of the city that he helped to create — San Benito.
Sam’s brother, Robert Emmit Robertson reflected the following about Sam: “The Father fresh from the ordeals of the Civil War and undergoing the hardships which followed, anxious to breed courage and fortitude in the son given him in the immediately following years, and no one, knowing the son throughout his life, could doubt the Father’s success in instilling a courage which never knew fear nor ever countenanced defeat.” A memorial poem appearing in the Brownsville Herald of August 24, 1938 very appropriately voices what an unique man Sam Robertson was. It reads:
One by one our dearest old timers
Are passing to the other shore
There is no one to fill their places,
Or bear the cross they so nobly bore
His passing will not affect the bankers,
It is the poor and lowly who lost a friend,
Their dear old “Colonel” has left themselves,
And for him their prayers to God ascend.
Sam was in a class to himself,
No one with him will ever compare,
Rugged, honest, kind and loving,
Ever willing to do and dare.