Alfonso Ramos Jr., part of a Texas family with a century-long musical legacy, died Tuesday in Austin after a long illness, his brother Ruben Ramos confirmed this week. He was 79.
Born in Austin in 1936, Alfonso was the son of Elvira Perez and Alfonso Ramos Sr., both of whom were musicians. As a teen, Alfonso joined his uncle Justin Perez’s band, learning to play saxophone. In the 1950s, he became the leader of Alfonso Ramos y Su Orquesta, recording dozens of albums across the subsequent decades and helping many Tejano musicians get their start.
A member of the Tejano Music Awards Hall of Fame and the Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Fame, Alfonso remained closely associated with his younger brother Ruben, whose band the Mexican Revolution capped a long career by winning the Grammy Award for Best Tejano Album in 2009.
On his Facebook page Tuesday, Ruben posted the following: “The Ramos family will miss my brother Alfonso Ramos, Leon de la Sierra. He is now resting. Until we meet again my brother Alfonso. I love you. Your brother Ruben Ramos.”
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Margaret Coy Ramos, along with five children and many grandchildren. Visitation is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home in Austin, with a funeral mass at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, at Santa Cruz Catholic Church in Buda.