Last surviving founding member of Hays CISD school board dies at 89

Ralph Pfluger, the last surviving founding member of the Hays CISD school board, has passed away, says the district. He was 89.

Pfluger is the namesake of Ralph Pfluger Elementary School and served on the Buda School Board when Hays CISD was created in 1967. He was selected as one of the seven founding members of the first Hays CISD school board.

The State Board of Education honored Pfluger in 2010 for his lifelong contributions to children, the district, and education in Texas by naming him a Hero for Children. When he received the award, he said he cherished each and every student he helped through the years.

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"There’s nothing more important and there’s no greater feeling than knowing you have helped a student see their full potential and achieve more than they thought they could," Pfluger said. "I think each generation owes it to the next to pass along wisdom and lend a helping hand where possible to those who need it. None of us are where we are today because we did it all on our own. Everyone has benefited from the kindness of others. It is our duty to return the favor.”

Pfluger, a Pflugerville native, had lived in Hays County since 1953, one year after marrying his wife Lois. His presence on the original Hays CISD board was no accident, says the district, and that for decades, he laughingly described how he first came into school board service for Buda in 1963.

“The Buda school district was having its share of problems at that time and one day two guys came by our home, then on FM 1626, while I was mowing my bar ditch," Pfluger said. "They were looking for me (or someone) to serve on the board and I said ‘Sure!’”

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In 1967, the Buda School District consolidated with the Kyle and Wimberley districts, and Pfluger was selected as one of the two board members from Buda to serve on the new consolidated board, according to the district. Pfluger served as a Hays CISD trustee until 1974, including terms as the board’s vice president and president.

Pfluger decided to run for the board once again in 2004 and occupied the seat until his retirement in 2010. In 2011, he agreed to fill a vacancy and served until the May election that year.

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He complemented his trustee work with a regular schedule of volunteer work focused on remedial reading and mentoring, says Hays CISD. It was that personal mentoring for which he was so highly recognized, an almost unique talent he brought to Hays CISD campuses—and individual students—fortunate enough to connect with him.

In September 2010, Hays CISD honored Pfluger by dedicating an elementary school in his honor. In August 2019, at one of his last districtwide appearances, Pfluger was a keynote feature at the dedication of Johnson High School. In February 2020, his namesake elementary honored him with Ralph Pfluger Day to help mark the 10th anniversary of the school’s opening.