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Earthman Funeral Directors

8303 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX

OBITUARY

Julio Sterling Laguarta

May 14, 1933January 3, 2020
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Julio Sterling Laguarta was born in Galveston, TX and went to be with our Lord and Savior on January 3, 2020. Julio passed away peacefully at the age of 86 years to join his wife, Susie, of 64 years in Heaven. Julio is survived by his seven kids: Julio (Julie), Doug (Alice), Linda Adams (Charlie), Kirk (Teri), Graydon (Brenda), Jennifer Jones (Jay), and Sterling (Stephanie), 20 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. As well as his brother Robert Laguarta and many nieces and nephews. Julio is preceeded in death by his wife, Sue Katherine Kirk Laguarta and his parents, Julio Praxades Laguarta, Aseneth Sterling Laguarta and his brother, Don Laguarta. They moved from Galveston to West University at an early age and he attended West University Elementary, Pershing Middle School and Lamar High School, graduating in 1951. Julio was All-City in football in 1951 and his prowess in football landed him a scholarship to Texas Christian University, where he began the Spring Semester of 1952. He eventually transferred to the University of Texas at Austin where he entered the business school, graduating in 1956 with his BBA. While at UT he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. More importantly, his fraternity brother, Jon Kirk, introduced him to the love of his life, Sue Kirk (Susie). After a short courtship they were married on December 17, 1954. After graduation the couple moved back to Houston. Following his father’s suggestion, Julio began work in commercial real estate. Times were lean so Julio worked at a liquor store in the evenings and a paper route in the morning while working full time getting his real estate career off the ground. In the early years he forged relationships working with Joe Russo, Jim Shindler and other commercial real estate pioneers. Some early clients were Gerald Hines, Trammel Crow along with many major corporate clients like Exxon and Texas Eastern Corporation. In the early 60’s he joined with Coach Gavrel and George Bolin to create Laguarta, Gavrel & Bolin (LGB). Commercial real estate boomed in the 60’s and 70’s and Julio and his partners excelled. in 1969 and 1970 Texas Eastern hired LGB to assemble 32 blocks comprising 75 acres in downtown Houston, which today is home to Houston Center. This transaction still stands as one of the largest land assemblages in Houston history. In 1971, the firm added Jon Kirk, Susie’s brother, and thus changed the name to Laguarta, Gavrel & Kirk (LGK). These firms were early proving grounds for many who began their professional real estate careers in Houston. Julio was very active in the real estate community. He achieved his SIOR and CCIM and was very involved in the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). He became President of HAR in 1967 and was Houston Realtor of the Year in 1968. In 1975 Julio became President of Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) and in 1982 he became President of National Association of Realtors (NAR). Julio co-founded the Houston Realty Breakfast Club in 1967 which is still in service today. Julio was also a key figure in founding The Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M in 1971 where a scholarship was established for his achievements in his name. Julio remained active in commercial and residential real estate forming Neighborhood Classic Homes. Julio was active in youth sports coaching his kids in football and baseball including FUN Football and Post Oak American Little League. He impacted the lives of many young folks in these endeavors. Julio loved the outdoors, sharing this love with his children, their spouses and his grandchildren. Julio loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren to play golf, tennis, ski, travel and, most of all, wade fish in Port O’Connor, TX. These activities forged a family bond providing a legacy of love for family, sports, the outdoors, and laughter providing thousands of stories for generations. Julio enjoyed staying connected with friends from all stages of his life. Including coordinating a monthly lunch with his fellow Lamar High School graduates, including Tom Siragusa, Eddie Rayburn, Joe Russo, Carl Davis, Kenny Paul and Bill Van Wart. His later years were spent with his wife Susie. They were often seen hand-in-hand on their daily walks. He diligently cared for Susie, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007, admirably taking on the role as sole caretaker of Susie until her passing in June, 2019.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations to the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of Julio Sterling Laguarta for his devoted care of his wife, Susie. Funeral Service will be held on Friday, January 10 at 1:00 p.m., at Bayou City Fellowship, 1400 Brittmore, Houston, TX 77043. The Family will have a reception at the church following the service.

Services

  • Memorial Service Friday, January 10, 2020

Memories

Julio Sterling Laguarta

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david wolff

January 9, 2020

When I came to Houston in 1966 I compiled a mailing list of all of the active office and industrial brokers I could find -- of the 125 or so, approximately 25 were Laguarta Gavrel Bolin brokers!
Julio represented Humble/Exxon in the acquisition of their 26 acre Brookhollow campus, a property that served them well for 50 years and a transaction upon which I still reflect with pride as, I am sure, would he. I truly enjoyed working with him.
To me, he and his contemporaries represented the best qualities of the young Houston real estate professionals -- welcoming, enthusiastic, intelligent, knowledgeable, hard working. and fun.

Gary Ainsworth

January 9, 2020

My first job out of college was working in the property management and leasing department at LGK in 1975. I had numerous occasions to work with him and he always took time to offer his guidance to the beginners like myself. Even after I left is employ he was willing to share his wisdom when I called. He was a consummate professional and I feel privileged to have known him.

Marsha Gay

January 9, 2020

I have known of Julio since I was three years old when he and my older brother became life-long friends. They met at West University Elementary and would show up in our kitchen everyday after school to torture me and raid the refrigerator. My mother loved Julio and through the years told me stories that made us both laugh.
Her favorite memory was of little Julio; short, chubby, in overalls and usually barefoot, standing on one foot peering endlessly into the refrigerator. When she told him to shut the door, he said, "well, I'm just looking for something to chew on"! She recalled that he, more often than not, carried a frog in the pocket of his overalls. This practice apparently caused multiple trips to the Principal's office through out his elementary school days.

The love story between Julio and Susie is like no other I have ever known. His love for their children was almost enviable. When the family was all together, it was almost impossible to get a word in. I joined them one Thanksgiving and the celebration lasted all day and well into the night. It was heartwarming to see how much they enjoyed each other.

Julio was my brother, my mentor, my defender and dear friend all of my life so far. I will have to find a way to view life without him in it.
I loved him. Marsha Spencer Gay

Marie Heffernan

January 9, 2020

I remember how happy we were when Mr Lagurata became president of the NAR. I worked for him in the early seventies and still use many things we learned from Mr Lagurata.
Sorry for the loss of your loved one.

Cindi Bulla

January 8, 2020

I was blessed to meet Julio for the first time on December 18, 2019, but I've known him for years. I am an Amarillo based Realtor® currently serving as the Chairman of the Board of Texas Realtors®. I knew him from his picture in our board room in Austin, and the one at our National Association headquarters in Chicago. I knew him by his legacy and his work. I knew him by his reputation for brilliance, straight talk, integrity and humor. I will forever treasure the blessing of finally meeting the man. On December 18th, just a few weeks ago, he exceeded my every expectation. He was warm, kind, approachable, funny and indeed, brilliant. He seemed well and strong and I never would have imagined he would be gone so soon. He did mention his precious wife who had gone on before him and how he missed her. I pray his family can find comfort in the assurance of that special reunion. His legacy will live forever. May God bless.

Andy Pontikes

January 8, 2020

Our sincere condolences to the entire family for your loss. We are so very sorry.

Sharon Brown

January 8, 2020

Being one of the first employees hired by NASA in Houston in 1961, I remember Mr. Laguarta being in our offices almost daily. He helped the original 7 Astronauts find builders for their homes and our transition staff who were relocating from Langley, Virginia . He was always ready to assist us in any way possible. He was almost like one of our team and he made good memories for all of us. It is so tragic to lose people like Mr. Laguarta. He started with us at the
Rich building on Telephone road, then progressed with us to the HL&P Building, then to the Farnsworth-Chambers building. He will surely be missed.

Graydon Laguarta

January 8, 2020

Dad,
I love you very much. I remember the phrase "How do you spell LOVE . . . T-I-M-E"

I appreciate the time we had together. Especially the good times. Thank you for being a great Father, and for your devotion to Mom.

Much Love,
Graydon (#5)

Thomas Johnson

January 7, 2020

Mr. Laguarta was always kind and gracious to this young ambitious Realtor, 30 odd years ago. My condolences to the family.

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