By SHELDON MOORE
Special to the PRESS
On Saturday morning, July 30, 2022, Port Isabel celebrated the culmination of a long term effort to make the Mayor Arturo Galvan Coastal Park a reality. A large number of Galvan family members and relatives as well as a sizeable turnout from the community, including City Manager Jared Hockema, the late mayor Galvan’s daughter Mary Jo, and recently elected Mayor Martin Cantu, Jr.
Former Mayor Arturo Galvan was born and grew up in Port Isabel. His first business endeavor, as a youth, was to join his family in commercial fishing on a small sailboat that he operated. Later on, he worked in several service stations until the Korean War interrupted and saw him patriotically leave the Valley to serve his country. Following his Korean War service, upon returning to Port Isabel, he continued in the service station business. Galvan eventually became the proprietor of Art’s Humble Service, later Art’s Enco Service as the current Exxon Corporation shuffled through the name game. The station was located on the present day site of Doubleday’s Sports Bar.
In 1955, Arturo wed Mary Lou Perez and they went on to raise ten children. After serving on the Point Isabel School Board, Galvan went on to serve as Port Isabel Mayor from 1970-72. Following his term as mayor, Arturo worked for Brown & Root, Marathon LeTourneau and Union Carbide, completing his career as Office Manager for Cameron County Parks before his retirement. Galvan passed away on June 27, 1998.
As Saturday’s ceremony began, Hockema hailed former mayor Galvan’s leadership during “a difficult and tumultuous period in Port Isabel’s history” when he served. Hockema additionally pointed out the continuing service to the community by the Galvan’s in the form of two family members currently serving on the school board.
Mary Jo Galvan spoke next, giving thanks to the present and former Port Isabel Mayors that persevered in the creation of the park bearing her father’s name. Mayor Martin Cantu, Jr. spoke in conclusion, thanking the attendees for the robust turnout and thanking the Galvan family for their patience during the arduous journey to the park’s completion.
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