|Birth: ||Jul. 30, 1918|
|Death: ||Oct. 23, 1970|
On the morning of Friday, October 23, 1970, Francis Alexander took off from McAllen International Airport in a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, N5223L. At 11:33 a.m. Alexander called the airport tower to warn that all Catholic, Methodist and Parochial schools should be evacuated.
At least two churches were evacuated in McAllen and Edinburg nearby, before the plane crashed into the main sanctuary of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church located in San Juan, Texas, the biggest Catholic Church in the Valley. The church was quickly evacuated and minutes later flaming gas enveloped the interior of the sanctuary. Miraculously, the only casualty was Alexander, even though about 60 priests were celebrating mass and 70 parochial school children were in the adjoining cafeteria.
Many believe Alexander "who opposed materialism of organized religion" singled out the largest church in the Lower Rio Grande Valley as a symbolic gesture.
Alexander, a Pennsylvania native was a graduate of Carnegie Tech, a World War II Air Force Major who helped train Atomic Bomb bomber crews for the raid on Hiroshima, a school teacher, a flight instructor, and a taxi-cab driver.
He is survived by his wife and four children.
Information provided by The Monitor October 23,24,25, 1970
WORLD WAR II
JULY 30, 1918
OCTOBER 23, 1970
Note: Interred on October 27, 1970
Plot: Veterans Section, Block 28, Lot 206-A
Created by: Lionel Alva, Jr.
Record added: May 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 37281375