Tamale House founder Moses Vasquez dies
September 2, 1923-August 12, 2014
Original Tamale House founder Moses Vasquez died Tuesday night following a stroke. Mr. Vasquez passed peacefully with his children by his side. He was 90 years-old.
Vasquez and wife, Carmen, opened the original Tamale House downtown on Congress Avenue at Cesar Chavez Street (back then, First Street) in 1959. Vasquez made headlines when he sold the 7,000 square-foot tract of land for $1.6 million in 1984. Located down the street from the Texas State Capitol, the original Tamale House was a popular spot for government workers.
“Tamale House was an institution and Moses was the master,” former Texas Gov. Mark White said. “Best tamales in Austin. Enjoyed them for years. Wish I had six right now.”
Vasquez, who family members lovingly called “Baby Mo,” was a big fan of live music and was always proud of the fact that he got the chance to meet his idol, Willie Nelson. Following the sale of the Tamale House, the man who had a love for singing purchased a short-lived country music bar in tiny Round Mountain in Blanco County.
“Even at 90 years old, he was always the performer, and you could find him at community celebrations at Fiesta Gardens or dancing up a storm on the East side until the lights came up,” his granddaughter, Carmen Valera said.
This marks the second loss for the Vasquez family this year, as Robert “Bobby” Vasquez, Moses’ son who opened the now-closed Tamale House on Airport Boulevard in 1977, died in April.
Vasquez is preceded in death by his wife, Carmen Vasquez; father, Papa Gene Vasquez; mother, Nellie Vasquez; brothers Robert Vasquez and Rudolph Vasquez; sister, Rosie Vasquez; son, Robert Vasquez; and granddaughters, Monica Vasquez and Felicia Vasquez.
He is survived by his daughters, Cathy V. Revilla, Diane Valera and husband, Juan Valera, Peggy Vasquez, and son, Zachary Vasquez. Granddaughters, Elaine V. Alba, and husband, Roy Alba Sr., Harlin P. Villasana, Diane Revilla, Gabrielle Vasquez Baumayer, and husband, Bill Baumayer, Carmen Valera, Alexandria Colombina Valera. Grandsons Juan Mariano Valera, Jose Valera, Robert Valera, and Monte Schneider, and wife, Vicki Schneider. Great-grandchildren, Kelly Elaine McDermott, Hazel Schneider, Monte Schneider, Jr., and Angel Schneider.
The Tamale House East (1707 E. 6th St.) is owned and operated by Carmen, Juan, Jose, Robert and Colombina Valera (children of Diane and Juan Valera, grandchildren of Moses and Carmen Vasquez.
Viewing will be at 5:30 p.m. and Rosary at 7 p.m. Friday at Cook Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar Blvd. Mass at 10 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 1206 E. 9th St., followed by precession to Cook Walden Cemetery, 15501 N. I-35, Pflugerville, for burial.
Addie Broyles and John Kelso contributed to this post.