Former Brownsville Mayor Blanca Vela passes away

Former Brownsville Mayor Blanca Vela // Family Photo

Former Brownsville Mayor Blanca Vela has passed away.

Serving from 1999 to 2003, Vela served as Brownsville's first female mayor.

Her late husband was U.S. District Court Judge Filemon Vela, who passed away in 2004.

A scholarship at the University of Texas at Brownsville was created in both of their names back in August.

The couple's son Filemon Vela is a congressman serving the Brownsville area.

Flags at Brownsville's federal courthouse, which is partly named after her late husband, are being flown at half-staff in Vela's honor.

Many are expressing their condolences.

U.S. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Mercedes) issued the following statement about Vela's death:

"My wife Marty and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear relative Blanca Vela. We will always remember Blanca as an activist who stood up for civil rights, for women's rights and for the rights of children. She will be remembered for many accomplishments which include being the first female mayor of Brownsville. More importantly Blanca will also be remembered as the supportive and loving wife of Federal Judge Filemon Vela Sr. who passed away in 2004, and as a supportive and loving mother of her sons Congressman Filemon Vela Jr. and Ralph and her daughter Sylvia.The Vela and Hinojosa families will mourn Blanca's passing."