February 13, 2019
The Foundation is honored to welcome the newest endowed fund for Catholic schools, the Judge Robert J. and Emma Galvan Fund for Cathedral High School.
Robert Galvan attended St. Patrick Cathedral School and graduated from Cathedral High School in 1940. He went on to Texas College of Mines (UTEP) but his studies were cut short when the war started. He joined the Aviation Cadet Program and ultimately the United States Air Force which he served from 1943-1946. Robert married his high school sweetheart, Emma Valencia, a lifelong El Pasoan, on October 4, 1943 while he was on leave. They celebrated their church wedding on October 7 at St. Patrick Cathedral. The two met in front of the Plaza Theater. Robert adored Emma and said, “She has put up with me ever since then, God bless her. She also gave me two wonderful children, Robert Lawrence and Victoria Susana Hess.”
Galvan reentered the College of Mines following his service to his country, completed 90 hours of undergraduate work and then applied to Baylor University and Southern Methodist University. He chose SMU where he was in school with Joe Calamia, Albert Perches, Wellington Chew, Joe Rey, Sr., and Albert Armendariz, Sr. Galvan received a law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1949. After Robert’s graduation, Emma attended college at night, eventually earning her Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Western College (UTEP) in Elementary Education. Mrs. Galvan taught at Milam, White, Lincoln and Lindberg Elementary schools, where she was known for teaching first and second graders with love and patience for many years.
Galvan said he was inspired by his brother, Frank, to become a lawyer. He watched him try a case before Judge Buddy Ward and was intrigued. Frank started his practice in 1935 and was one of the first Hispanic lawyers in El Paso. The brothers were in private practice at the law firm of Galvan & Galvan where Robert would work from 1949-1974. He was later appointed to serve the City of El Paso as First Assistant City Attorney in 1957 and served through 1964. He was elected to revise the Charter of the City of El Paso on the City Charter Commission from 1963-1965 and was appointed to the City Planning Commission. He was appointed by Texas Governor John Connally in 1963 to serve on the Good Neighbor Commission of Texas and served as its Vice-Chairman from 1963-1969. He was elected Judge of the County Court at Law #1 in 1969 and served until his retirement in 1990. Judge Galvan was a member of the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association, El Paso Bar Association, and Duly Elected Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, American Judicature Society, member of the Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas, member of the National College of Probate Judges, American Academy of Judicial Education, and National College of the State Judiciary. Judge Galvan was Past President of Southern Methodist University Alumni Association of El Paso and former member of the Board of Directors for the Southern Methodist University Law Alumni Association.
Judge Galvan served the community tirelessly through his work with the United Way Campaign, Boy Scouts of America, as a member of the Board and Past President of Our Lady's Youth Center, member of the Board and Past President of the East El Paso Kiwanis Club, member of LULAC Council #132, member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Christians and Jews, member of the Knights of Columbus, National Spelling Bee Judge for 15 years and served on the Executive Board for the Southwest Sun Carnival. During his judicial career, Judge Galvan served on the El Paso County Courthouse Law Library Committee. He said, “the highlight of my legal and judicial career was the honor I received on March 4, 2004, by the Library Committee, the Commissioner’s Court, and the El Paso Bar Association, when the county law library was dedicated as “The Honorable Robert J. Galvan County Law Library.”