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Franklin "Frank" Pagel '53 August 4, 2022 3:05 PM updated: August 4, 2022 3:12 PM

Frank Pagel
September 25, 1932 – July 25, 2022

Frank Pagel, 89, of Tivoli passed away July 25, 2022. He was born September 25, 1932 in Refugio County near Tivoli to Gus and Elenora Stanzel Pagel on the family farm that was purchased in 1907 by his grandparents, Ernst and Anna Appelt Pagel. He graduated from Austwell-Tivoli High School in 1949 at the age of 16. Frank attended Victoria College for 1.5 years and then transferred to Texas A&M. While at Texas A&M he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, a Distinguished Student, and received his Bachelor's degree in Animal Science in 1953 at age 20. He was commissioned into the United States Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. His primary flight training was received in Hondo. Frank received his pilot wings at Laredo Air Force Base. The majority of his Air Force tenure was spent at Perrin Air Force Base in Denison, Texas, where he flew the F86D, an all-weather interceptor. He was an instrument instructor, and the name of his group was “The Flying 58”. He also spent several months on assignment at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls.

After leaving active military duty in 1957, Frank returned home to Tivoli. He assisted his parents with the operation of Pagel Farms. He began operation of Gulf Coast Aerial Spray Service. In 1967 he received one of the Man of the Year in Agriculture awards which are presented annually by the Texas County Agents Association to Texans who have made significant contributions in the field of agriculture. Frank`s award was given for his work in pasture weed and brush control on ranches throughout South Texas and the Brush Country. Also that year, he and one of his pilots , Warren Whatley, received a citation from the United States Postmaster General for flying in the U.S. Mail after Hurricane Beulah`s floods had caused the small communities of Austwell and Tivoli to become isolated. Landings and takeoffs were made off State Highway 35. Food and other necessities were also delivered. Later, he became a dealer for Rockwell Thrush Commander which he operated out of Progreso, Texas.

After his wife Marilyn's retirement from teaching, Frank and she operated Tivoli Produce, a produce business in Tivoli. Frank had put in a drip irrigation system for the vegetables and fruits he grew and was especially known for his tomatoes and 1015 onions. Throughout his lifetime, Frank`s fluency in the Spanish language served him well.

Frank was active in many civic organizations: he served on the Refugio County Farm Service Agency Committee for many years. He served on the committee that laid the framework for the first Groundwater District in Refugio County. After being appointed by Governor Rick Perry, Frank served from 2001-2013 on the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority Board of Directors. He served 10 years as the Republican Party Refugio County Chair, did volunteer work for the Austwell/Tivoli Community Food Pantry, and served as vice president of the Pagel Family Association. Frank was on the Refugio County Aggie Club Scholarship Committee and was an Associate Member of the Refugio County Retired School Personnel Chapter. He attended Tivoli Presbyterian Church.

Frank is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Marilyn Gentry Pagel; son, Christopher J. Pagel and daughter-in-law Alyssa S. Pagel, of Franklin, TN; two nephews, one niece, several great nephews, a great niece, and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Zella Lois Pagel Darden, and niece Carol Darden Fish.

Visitation will be held Friday, August 12, 2022, from 10-11 a.m. at Tivoli Presbyterian Church followed by a celebration of life at 11 a.m. with Pastor Cindy Myers and Hospice Chaplain Larry Green officiating. Burial will follow at Tivoli Cemetery with full military honors. After burial, there will be a reception and meal at the church.

The family wishes to extend special thanks to Pastor Cindy Myers, Wayne Myers, Lydia Aguirre, Jorge and Santos Zamora, Dardon Morgenroth, Marcus Torres, Justin Torres, and all Hospice personnel: especially Frank`s regular nurses: Kimberly Lucas, Lynn Rhodes and Chaplain Larry Green.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Tivoli Presbyterian Church, PO Box 237, Tivoli, TX 77990; Tivoli Cemetery Association, c/o Etta Jean Wright, PO Box 329, Tivoli, TX 77990; or Hospice of South Texas, 602 E Locust, Victoria, TX 77901.

Words of comfort or special memories may be shared with the family at


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