Humberto (Bert) Villarreal Reyes, 89, died Feb. 13, 2018. He was born to Carlos Reyes B. of Durango, Mexico, and Maria Villarreal of Goliad. He graduated from Goliad High School in 1946.
A lifelong cattleman and auctioneer, Reyes began raising Hereford calves at age nine and was chosen as one of 14 outstanding 4-H members in Mexico and Texas. He enrolled at Texas A&M University where he earned one of the first Jesse Jones opportunity scholarships. He found a home in the animal science department at A&M and was a member of the TAMU Livestock and Meat Judging teams.
Reyes served in the Army during the Korean War, after which he earned a master’s degree in animal science from A&M and became one of America’s most prominent cattle auctioneers. As the only Spanish bilingual auctioneer in North America at the time, he pulled new clients into Texas sales.
He and his brother Ruben partnered in creating Reyes and Reyes, building the country’s largest cattle-auctioneering firm. He called many historic auctions, breaking national sales records for many breeds including Beefmaster, Simmental, and Brangus. He was honored to have been consulted by President Johnson and was asked by Lady Bird to manage the dispersal sale of LBJ’s cattle upon the former president’s death.
At the time of his death, Reyes had been working with the Texas A&M San Antonio Library to archive his cattle-business records, logging thousands of photographs, and providing an oral history for researchers.
Reyes is survived by his daughter, Carmelita Reyes; grandsons Carlos and Mateo Johns; sister Estella Naranjo; and brother Mike (Elida) Reyes. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Rachel, Tillie, Christina, Florinda, and Martha; brothers, Lucas, Alvino, Tony, Carlos Jr., Pete, and Ruben; and many friends and relatives.
Contributions in his memory may be made to a college scholarship fund.
Published in the May 2018 Issue of The Cattleman Magazine