Shary Memorial Chapel Cemetery

Photos from the UTPA archives

Hidalgo Co. Cemeteries of Tx

Submitted by Frances Isbell

With Permission  of Hidalgo Co. Historical Commission (2005)

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LOCATION: Southeast of Mission,  2.5  miles north of State Farm Road 495 (Pecan Avenue) on FM 494 (Shary Road), and 3.6 mile south of FM 107. Chapel is on east side of road.

SURVEYED:  Researched by Fran Isbell, Janette Garcia and Modene Johnson on May 4, 2005.

HISTORY:  John H. Shary, born near Wilbur, Nebraska, had already colonized a quarter million acres of land in the Corpus Christi area before he came to the Valley in 1912.  He was primarily interested in land development, irrigation, and marketing of grapefruit.

  Known as the “Father of the Texas Citrus Industry,” in 1914 Shary colonized Sharyland (49,000 acres).  In 1915 he planted the Valley’s first commercial citrus orchard.  He built the first modern citrus packing plant in Sharyland on railroad frontage.  He organized the Texas Citrus Growers Exchange (TCX), one of the first large scale growing and marketing associations in the industry.  He pioneered in canning citrus juices and segments, and built another plant which was the first to develop stock feeds and molasses from citrus by-products.

 His diversified interests included two newspapers, two banks, several land companies, oil development and  purebred cattle.  In 1922, Shary married Margaret Mary O’Brien.  Their daughter Maryalice married Senator (Governor of Texas 1949-1957) Allen Shivers in 1937.

John H. Shary built his showplace Southern style plantation home overlooking an artificial lake in 1917 (Texas Historical Marker 1964).  It became the “Little White House” in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the guest of Governor and Mrs. Shivers during dedication of  Falcon  Dam.

After Shary’s death in 1945,  his wife Mary continued to play a key role as head of the Shary Organization, although she gradually relied more and more on the advice of her daughter and son-in-law, Maryalice and Allen Shivers.  Mary Shary died  on November 30, 1959.

 John H. and Mary Shary are buried in a handsome chapel on the  estate grounds.  The Shary Estate is now owned by the University of Texas Pan American. 


John H. Shary, born March 2, 1872, died November 6, 1945 

Margaret Mary O’Brien Shary, born  December 7, 1886;    died  November 30, 1959