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The Rev. Frank Diaz, who led the General Assembly Council during the 1990s, dies at age 90

The former electrical engineer and Realtor turned minister is remembered Monday in Dallas

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Frank Diaz

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Frank Diaz, whose work and ministry ranged from serving as an electrical engineer and Realtor to leading what is now the Presbyterian Mission Agency, died Jan. 14 at age 90.

A memorial service was held on Monday at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home in Dallas. The Rev. Richard W. Selby officiated.

“Though I did not know Frank well, I appreciate the leadership he provided as the Executive Director of the General Assembly Mission Council — predecessor to the PMA,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Givens Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Those who come before us set a path for us to build upon. On behalf of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, I extend condolences and prayers to the family and friends of this beloved servant of Christ.”

According to his obituary, Diaz was born in Dallas, Texas, on May 12, 1933. He was born into El Divino Salvador Presbyterian Church, where he became an active member.

He married Shirley, his high school sweetheart, and joined the Army during the Korean War, receiving his honorable discharge in December 1955.

After his military service, he was an electrical engineer for Texas Instruments for 16 years. He then became a broker and Realtor, opening his own real estate office, Northwest Realty.

He entered Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in his mid-40s and earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1982. Diaz pastored five churches in Texas: Memorial Presbyterian Church in San Marcos, First Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels, El Buen Pastor Presbyterian Church in Austin, First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, and his home church, El Divino Salvador Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

In 1996, Presbyterian News Service reported that Diaz was appointed as interim executive director of the General Assembly Council, the previous name for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. He’d served the previous four years as the GAC’s associate director for operations. The search committee described Diaz as someone who’s “excelled in business, yet while heading his own firms, he found time to serve at all levels of the church as a layperson. His work as pastor of three small churches has given him a keen sense of their needs and challenges, and his service to the GAC has expanded that sense of including the entire denomination.”

The search committee noted that Diaz had served the GAC “quietly and faithfully for seven years” and that he understands “the issues [and] the inner workings of the PC(USA) and has strong open relationships with the staff and leaders of our church.” Diaz retired in the position.

He was co-founder of both Mi Escuelita, an early childhood program in Dallas, and Manos de Cristo, an Austin-based organization that empowers low-income individuals.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Rachel Montero, his brother Enoch Diaz, Jr. and the love of his life, his wife of 57 years, Shirley Vela Diaz.

He is survived by his children, Frank Diaz, Jr. (Norma Atkinson), David Diaz, Larry Diaz, James Diaz (Cody Kendrick), Patricia Diaz, Elizabeth Lara (Frank Lara); grandchildren Shawn and Jana Diaz, Sara and Manuel Soto, Lindsay and Brandon Kuhlengel, Emily and Chris Alvey, Joshua and Kiah Diaz, Jacob Diaz, Faith and Michael Upchurch, Lauren Lara, Leah Lara; great-grandchildren Isaac and Fani Soto, Reilly Diaz, Damien Alvey, Carson Staver, Ivan Soto, Nathan Kuhlengel, Lily Alvey, Righleigh Diaz, Nolan Diaz, Lyric Upchurch, Liam Upchurch, Dezerae and Trenton Deis, Danyelle and Benjamin Dolan; and great-great grandchildren Silver Soto, Everley Dolan, Elliette Dolan and Emilia Dolan.

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