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“It’s a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell.” Longtime Valley journalist Gilbert Tagle, Jr., 68, passes away, leaves behind legacy of speaking truth to power, fighting for the underdog - Gilbert Tagle - Titans of the Texas Legislature

FEATURED: Alma Alisia Arévalo with her husband Gilbert Tagle, Jr., in this June 21, 2020 image. Tagle, 68, a longtime Valley journalist passed away on Friday, February 2, 2024 at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco. He leaves behind a legacy of speaking truth to power, and fighting for the underdog.



“It’s a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell.” Longtime Valley journalist Gilbert Tagle, Jr., 68, passes away, leaves behind legacy of  speaking truth to power, fighting for the underdog

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Veteran print journalist Gilbert Tagle, Jr., 68, most well-known as the former editor of the Edinburg Daily Review in the 1980s and 1990s, didn’t come up with the famous saying, “It’s a newspaper’s duty to print news and raise hell.” 

But he sure was a champion of that idea, first proclaimed by American humorist and writer Finley Peter Dunne, who became famous in the late 1800s and early 1900s “for his witty and insightful commentary on political and social issues of his time.“This quote reflects the core principle of journalism, emphasizing the importance of news outlets in educating the public, fostering dialogue, and serving as a watchdog for societal injustices. By fearlessly questioning authority and shedding light on pressing issues, newspapers have the power to provoke change and drive progress in society.”

Tagle, whose journalism career included public service as a communications expert with the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, continued to use his writing and speaking skills on behalf of the United Methodist Church as long as his health allowed him. 
His death occurred on Friday, February 2, 2024 at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco.

His unexpected passing was announced by his wife, Alma Alisia Arévalo, on his Facebook, which like his newspaper and public information careers had a large following, but through which he focused more on his Christian faith, along with sharing words of wisdom and mercy, inspirational images, and stories from many highly-regarded sources.

“Family and friends, it is with deepest sorrow that I inform you of the death of my beloved husband Gilbert Tagle who passed away today, February 2, 2024,” Arévalo wrote on his Facebook. “Thank you all for your loving prayers and words of encouragement for Gilbert, myself, his son Carlos, and his brother Richard. Your continued prayers for our family are much appreciated. 

“My comfort in my suffering is this: ‘Your promise preserves my life.’ Psalm 119:50 NIV,” she added.

To the surprise and concern for many of his Facebook followers, on Saturday, January 20, 2024, Tagle posted an alarming update on his health:“Through 68 years of life, I have learned time and again that I need God. The bottom line is that I have not felt well for a couple of weeks now. Not sure if it’s a bad sinus infection, the flu, or severe anemia. Believe or not, I do indeed suffer from these three conditions,” he wrote. “I have felt so bad, that I have had put Facebook aside. It hurts to follow it. I briefly got back on it today. I discovered friends who lost loved ones, who are getting treated for cancer or other diseases., etc., etc. To my friends requesting catch-up time, please give me a little time. I need to see what the doctor recommends. You are, however, in my prayers.”

Also according to his obituary:

Tagle was a 1973 graduate from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Pan American University in Journalism. 

Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 15 years, Alma Alisia Arévalo, his beloved son Carlos Alberto Tagle, both of Donna, Texas, his esteemed brother, Richard (Johnny) Tagle of San Antonio, Texas, his best friend and colleague Mark (Roseanne) Montemayor of Edinburg, Texas, along with many cousins and extended family. 

He was preceded in death by his parents Gilberto Tagle, Sr. and Alma Vinton Tagle.

His professional career featured the following achievements:

  •  Former Public Relations Officer at Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District;
  •  Former District Program Coordinator at Río Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church;
  • Former Lay Pastor at Nueva Vida United Methodist Church;
  •  Former Consultant at City of Edinburg;
  • Former Editor-in-chief at Edinburg Daily Review;
  • Former Associate Program Director at Río Grande Conference – United Methodist Church;
  • Former Youth Ministry Staff at National Youth Ministry Organization of United Methodist Church;
  • Studies Continuing Education – Marketing at Trinity University;
  •  Studied Journalism/Speech at University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg; and
  • Studied Lay Administrators Program at Perkins School of Theology Mexican American Program.

Mark Montemayor: “He was many things to many people.” 

Mark Montemayor, a veteran photojournalist for many years with the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, who previously worked with Tagle at the Edinburg Daily Review, provided a few of his thoughts about Tagle.

“As I reflect on the life of my friend and mentor, the question that comes to mind is who was Gilbert Tagle? To his wife, a loving and doting husband; to his son, a proud father; to his brother, a caring big brother,” Montemayor said. “To me, Gilbert was a friend, mentor, and brother.”

To the Edinburg and Hidalgo County communities, he was many things to many people, he added. 

“He was a counselor and fountain of faith for people who needed prayers and guidance. For the taxpayers, voters, and disenfranchised, he was a sword of justice righting the wrongs perpetrated against them,” Montemayor continued. “He was seen by politicians and government entities such as the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg school district, and the Hidalgo County government as a spotlight who revealed their wrongdoings and shortcomings in their roles as public servants and government leaders.”

He also admired Tagle’s ability to communicate with people and to write his thoughts effectively. 

“One of the many lessons I learned from Gilbert as a journalist was always to ask the hard question because you just might be surprised by the answer. He always pushed me like a big brother and encouraged me to pursue photography and my education,” Montemayor said. “Gilbert taught me that a good leader can listen to people and have them feel that you understand their point of view, even if you disagree.”One of the most important examples of Tagle always achieving one of the highest standards of journalism was that he always identified himself as the author of his articles and editorials – not to show off his writing skills – but by doing so, he had the courage to also open himself to scrutiny and criticism like the powerful people he wrote about.

“Gilbert showed me that people will not always like you but can have respect for you when you put your name to your work,” Montemayor pointed out.

Dina Arévalo: “He spoke truth to power for years…”

Other current and former journalists shared their perspectives about Tagle on his Facebook, expressing shock and dismay at his untimely demise, but praising him even more as a role model and beacon for their shared profession.

Dina Arévalo. a journalist with The Monitor newspaper in McAllen, and a niece of Tagle, wrote an insightful piece about him, which included the following highlights:

“Friends, family, and especially my journalist colleagues: my uncle Gilbert Tagle passed away yesterday (Friday, February 2, 2024). Many of you may know or remember him as the longtime, dogged journalist of the former Edinburg Daily Review, the small hometown newspaper I’d happily see show up on our driveway all through my childhood,” DinaArévalo.said. “He spoke truth to power for years, holding city and county leaders accountable with a fearlessness that we modern day journalists could do well to learn from.”

She recalled sharing “war stories” about their chosen profession, with her coming away impressed and proud of his journalistic performances “with the stories of his heyday.“…Of the political shakeups his reporting sparked. Of sitting incognito in the cafe of the old federal courthouse where unsuspecting lawyers talked shop about current cases not realizing a reporter was soaking up their every word. Of giving (U.S. Federal) Judge Ricardo Hinojosa a hard time. A judge he was quite fond of, and who still sits on the bench to this day,” Dina Arévalo. continued. 

“There are people who can, and will, tell you more about Gilbert’s professional accomplishments than I can, but to me, I know Gilbert as the man who married my dad’s sister, my aunt Alma Arevalo. I know him as the man who made my aunt smile every time I saw her. I know him as the outspoken man of faith and political fervor who eagerly shared his thoughts here on Facebook,” she said.

David Hinojosa: “Holding the city and county leaders accountable.”

David Hinojosa, a sports writer with the San Antonio Express-News, said Tagle was his first editor when he began working in 1991 for his hometown Edinburg Daily Review.

“I loved working for my hometown paper. We were some scrappers, man, and Gilbert was in the middle of it, holding the city and county leaders accountable. 

“He gave me the confidence I needed to cover things outside sports like city, county and school board meetings,” Hinojosa said. “It was difficult letting him know I decided to take a full-time job (at The Monitor in McAllen). He never held it against me. He kept up with me when I left for Dallas, returned to The Monitor, as I went through grad school and at my present position in San Antonio. I’ll never forget that. Wishing peace and strength to his loved ones.”

Alma Alisia Arévalo: “Thank you for your prayers, words of comfort…”

On Friday, February 16, 2024, his wife posted these words of deep appreciation to their many family members and friends who rallied to their side during Tagle’s illness and passing.

“I humbly want to thank each and everyone of you for being there for us during the loss of my husband Gilbert Tagle. Thank you for your prayers, words of comfort, uplifting cards, flowers, flood, and monetary gifts. Thank you all who were able to attend his memorial service and honoring us with your presence,” Arévalo said. “It has been a difficult time of transitioning, emotions come in waves no matter where I am or whom I’m with. In turn, I am grateful to God for placing each of you in my life, your love has certainly been felt and has kept me afloat. The Lord, my stronghold, My God in whom I trust, has blessed me and upheld me with the beautiful friends and family like you. My heart is full, much love to you all.”

Tagle: “I have experienced success, disappointment, disillusionment, and miracles.”

Perhaps his most remarkable example of journalism was an essay he wrote last summer, which he posted on his Facebook in late August 2023, in appreciation for the many blessings – and the learning experiences which often come from pain and losses.

That story, first posted on Facebook on birthday – August 29, 2023 – follows:

A Servant of Our Lord 

Dear Friends: I want to give God a shout out and tell Him: “Thank You Father.” 

On August 29, 1955, He gave me to my parents as their first son. I am ever so appreciative to Him and to my beautiful parents for accepting me and loving me despite all my imperfections. 

I am not a perfect man. I was not a perfect child. I had my quirks and my fears. Deep inside me, I suffered self-esteem issues. I knew I was different from others. I was a corpulent child in a time when obese children stood out from skinny, normal children. 

Today, society’s view is seemingly the opposite. Had it not been for my parent’s unconditional love, I am not sure how I would have survived this period in my life. From them, and from my little brother, Richard, I learned to think “skinny.” 

Unfortunately, my body did not get the message. Early on, I learned to compensate for my body mass flaw by reading and learning as much as I could. By the time I arrived in first grade I could read, thanks to a persistent mom who read to us every day. I was way beyond “See Dick and Jane. See Spot run.” I liked bigger books and bigger reading challenges. I read my mom’s Life and Look magazines. I read the then Valley Evening Monitor newspaper. I wrote my first letter to the editor when I was eight. It got published. Mom clipped it and saved it. 

I wrote about the Hunt brothers (the ketchup moguls) and their effort back then to influence the silver market. At eight-years-old, I had an opinion and shared it. It was the publication of that letter than showed me my future. I wanted to write to change things and tell stories that other people could read and learn from. The rest is history – my history – that is. 

I was a newspaper editor for 17 years with a tough little daily that was an unrelenting taxpayer watchdog long before anybody thought of demanding transparency. 

We took on the Edinburg school district, Edinburg the city, Hidalgo County and its DA, district judges, court system, and made them accountable. In my newspaper career, I wrote over a million words in editorials and investigative stories. We made the local, state, and national news. I like to think that my newspaper staff and I made a difference in Edinburg. 

For those on the receiving end, I was a big fat f***. For those whose case was heard before the court of last resorts (our newspaper), we were a Godsend. For me, it was the fulfillment of a calling I had since I was a child. Bottom line, our little paper rocked in the 1980s and 1990s. One year, we won an Associated Press Community Service Award. The judges wrote: “This paper has guts!” These words rang out in my mind as I walked up to the stage to accept a first place award and walked past the big newspaper editors from San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. It was an honor to fit into their category for once in my life. 

I retired from the newspaper business when my mother passed away in 1998. I promised her that I’d leave the paper. She said there would be nobody to pray for divine protection for me. So, I left the business I so much loved. 

I was not sure what I was going to do until the City of Edinburg hired me as a program consultant to coordinate 10 citizen driven committees whose achievements changed the face of Edinburg and took it from being a bedroom community into an era of new economic life and growth. 

While working for the city, I was wooed by the Edinburg school district to work for them as a Public Information Officer. Fifteen years later, I am still here doing what I do best – writing behind the scenes. 

I had always wanted to be a speech-writer for the President. God has granted me the opportunity to be the speech writer for five school superintendents that I have worked under. The funny thing is that I have worked for two of the public entities that once would have wanted me to disappear off the face of the earth, forever. My brother likes to remind me that “I sold out to the Man” when I left the Edinburg Daily Review – All the News That Was Fit to Print. 

In the years before my newspaper career and my career in the public service, I also worked for the United Methodist Church in communications, youth ministry, church program development, and administration. 

I arrived in Nashville at the age of 20. I worked in youth ministry at the highest level of the UMC. I traveled all across the country and the world working with youth groups and churches. I represented my Hispanic heritage and tried to show them that we were all children of the same God. I learned so much and made many very good friends. I got to do things that even now I don’t believe I did. 

From Nashville, I wound up in San Antonio working for the UMC in Hispanic ministry and there I got to write to my heart’s delight. I got to serve on the editorial board of a national UMC newspaper and made a name for myself at my first board meeting when I asked why there were no minority writers on the paper. 

The publisher told me that they had not ever had a qualified applicant. My immediate response was – “I’m here.” 

Then I made a motion asking the editorial board to consider a minority internship program for the paper. The board did me better. They wanted permanent minority staff positions. Much to the publisher’s dismay, I got the votes, and the paper hired its first minority reporter – a young, highly qualified African American reporter named Bonita Davis. 

One night, she called me in San Antonio and thanked me for making her job possible. The paper found many other qualified minority reporters in the years it continued to publish. With God’s help, I think I made a difference. 

Funny thing, when I returned to the Valley in 1983, that paper called me and offered me a job as an editor. I turned them down. There are so many things I could lift up as examples of how God has blessed me through my various career experiences, but I’d sound more braggadocious than I have already. 

Every experience is true. I tell my wife, Alma, and my son, Carlos, that she and I have been blessed with living through five (almost six) of the most interesting and history-making decades ever. 

We have lived through things that are in the history books and of which we can remember first-hand. 

Things like the Hippie flower children, JFK’ presidency and assassination, the Bay of Pigs, MLK’s march for civil rights and the “I have a Dream” speech, the development of the space program, man landing on the moon, the assassinations of RFK and MLK, Watergate, 911, the 60s and 70s music genres, the introduction of the “Twist,” Hurricane Beulah, the Y2K farce, the technology explosion, and so on and so on. 

At this point in our lives, Alma and I can say with total certainty that history does indeed repeat itself. I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks to God for my family. My parents were the best. They led by example and loved us unconditionally. I give thanks for my son, Carlos Alberto, and I wish a Godly road for Him while I am still here and after I have gone home. 

I thank God for my brother, Richard. We are night and day, but all our lives we hung together and have been there for each other. 

Lastly, but certainly not last, I give thanks to God for my beautiful wife, Alma. She is my gift from God. 

I bombed on my first marriage. The only good thing that came from it was my son. 

Alma reminds me constantly that while I was reading and learning back in Pharr, she and her family were working the fields as migrants in Washington State, Oregon, Utah, and Idaho. I thank her constantly for that labor of love. She feels she missed out on a lot of things. One thing is certain though, Alma is one of the brightest women I know. She is a better writer than me. She sees things from a different angle. I think we balance each other out. 

When God put Alma in my path, He answered my prayers and set things in motion for what has come into my life over the last eight years. Yes, I have a lifetime of memories and experiences. But I also have some regrets that keep me wondering “what if I had….” 

Among those “what if” moments is the thought of where God would have taken me if I have answered the call to ministry that my mom so much wanted for me. I always expected a cataclysmic calling like the one that Saul received before becoming the Apostle Paul. But nothing like that came, and I apparently was deaf and dumb when the calling did come. 

It has been over the last eight years that I have realized that God calls us in different ways. My call was not loud and earth-shaking. Rather, it came in series of edifying experiences over 30 years in which I have experienced success, disappointment, disillusionment, and miracles. 

God has been there with me every time. He consoled me when I cried and cheered with me when I was thrilled. He gave me courage when I needed it, and sent messengers to serve as interpreters when I didn’t understand what He was trying to tell me. 

I have always loved public speaking. At this age, I am good to go at the drop of a hat. I love to preach the Gospel of Christ because it has so much meaning and significance for me. In Christ, I have found everything I need. Throughout my life in my church service, I have rubbed elbows with Bishops, famous evangelists, iconic Christian leaders, as well as some of the most simple men and women whom God has used to do great things. 

Because I turned down two opportunities to go through seminary training in my younger years, God sent these prophets to me to touch my life. 

It was in 2005, after a lengthy illness and period of restoration, that God called me to serve as a lay pastor to two distinct but challenging congregations. With Alma at my side, we answered God’s call. We did it as volunteers for free. But in return, He gave us an abundance of blessings. 

I hope that you can see what I mean when I say that Alma was the gift God gave me to do His ministry. As a lay servant, I have found that it is one thing to speak publicly to an audience and another thing to speak the Good News to a church congregation. A church family is not a perfect family. But if we approach church correctly, despite our imperfections, we can together serve a most perfect God. Growing up in the church I had learned about faith, prayer, God and the Trinity. But it was not until I was called as a lay pastor that I came to understand the Holy Spirit. 

One cannot fully understand the Holy Spirit until they have felt that warm feeling that Methodist Church founder, John Wesley, spoke about. It is better than any church camp mountaintop experience. The presence of the Holy Spirit moves you. You do things that you would not ever do alone. 

The Holy Spirit gives you assurance and confidence to speak with power for God. The Holy Spirit gives you validity as a servant of God. In our ministry together, the Holy Spirit has given Alma and me, the words, the wisdom, and the power to speak and do great things, not for our vainglory, but for God’s glory. So, it is with great joy that on the eve of my 68th birthday, I give God all the honor and glory, for the person which I have become through Christ. God is so good. Alleluia, Gloria a Dios! I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. 

And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20 

Thank you, Jesus for 68 years of life today – August 29, 2023.


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