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Xavier Barerra memorial

Xavier Barrera, a cherished friend and inspiring mentor, died in San Antonio on August 10, 2020. He was on his daily morning walk when he collapsed, went into cardiac arrest, and ultimately passed away from undetected cardiovascular disease.

Xavier was born on August 15, 1945 in McAllen, TX.

He attended Presbyterian Pan American School, a college preparatory school in Kingsville, Texas where he met his beloved wife Orpha. He earned a Bachelor of Music from Texas College of Arts and Industries (1967), a Master of Musicology degree from North Texas State (1972), and a Master of Science in school administration from Texas A&I University in Corpus Christi (1975).

As a choir director, principal, administrator and innovator, Xavier dedicated 48 years to the Gregory-Portland Independent School District.

He was known for his warmth, humor, and genuine care for the well-being of everyone around him. He had an unwavering commitment to children and young people, designing and implementing innovative programs throughout his career to create opportunities for students and their families to thrive. As a principal, he made a point to memorize every student’s name and to greet them at the front door each morning without fail. And every afternoon, he was there to make sure everyone made it on the bus or to their ride home. He attended every after-school activity he could to show support for students’ efforts. He was the voice of GP Wildcat football for 30 years. And he presided over commencements, announcing graduates’ names with great care and precision for years. Above all else, it was vitally important to Xavier that students knew how important and worthy of respect they were.

In addition to his extraordinary capacity to make others feel cared for, he seemed to have had more hours in the day than most. He ran marathons and designed and built labyrinths. He played Dr. Drosselmeyer in the Corpus Christi Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker for 25 years. He played chess and cleaned up the beaches. He ate healthy food and exercised regularly. And he took every opportunity he could to tell anyone who would listen how much he loved his wife and children.

A testament to his humility, it is impossible to know how many hundreds of people felt inspired by him, encouraged by him, motivated by him, and loved by him. He moved through the world with a reverence for its beauty and a dedication to engaging it with love and care.

He is survived by Orpha, his wife of 52 years, his son, Kiki of Brooklyn, and his daughter Dr. Lyra Barrera of Los Angeles.

No services will be held due to COVID-19.

Not having known about his medical condition, Xavier had indicated that he wanted to donate only one organ upon his death: his heart. He spent his life engaging in daily exercise, and his heart muscle itself was extraordinarily strong as a result. It continued to try to work for many minutes after his passing. But the heart disease had created blockages that made it not viable for donation. It not only took his life, but his ability to pass on the one thing he had most wanted to.

His family believes that if he could not give his own physical heart, he would want to know that he helped as many people as possible to have healthy hearts, to sustain life and love.

If you would like to honor Xavier and his lifelong commitment to education and well-being, the family has established the Xavier Barrera Memorial Endowment for Research Education in Cardiovascular Disease, a permanent endowment at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Every year, this endowment will support research education in cardiovascular disease for a medical student or resident, with preference given to first-generation students who grew up in South Texas.

Gifts in memory of Xavier Barrera will benefit the Xavier Barrera Memorial Endowment for Research Education in Cardiovascular Disease at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Contributions may be mailed to:

UT Health San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive, Mail Code 7835
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900

Please reference the Xavier Barrera Memorial Endowment in your gift transmittal.

If there are any questions, please contact us by email at makelivesbetter@uthscsa.edu.

 
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UT Health San Antonio
Office of Institutional Advancement
MC-7835
7703 Floyd Curl Drive
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900
Makelivesbetter@uthscsa.edu

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