Adolph Stendebach was born in 1888 in Boerne. Fannie Bowers was born in 1991 in Mexia. They were married in San Antonio in 1910 and moved to Boerne. In 1913, they moved to Hamiltonburg, which was later renamed Three Rivers. They came the year the town was founded.
Adolph worked as a mechanic and also worked at the Voges General Store and Alamo Lumber Company, from which he retired. For a time, Adolph’s brother Willie and their dad William Peter also lived in Three Rivers, and the three men worked as carpenters. They built the American Legion Hall, the old Three Rivers Hospital and the J.F. Gray home, among other buildings. They were experienced rock masons.
Adolph served on the school board and was a 50-year member of the Masons.
The Stendebachs had seven children: Carl, John, Dorothy, Woodrow Wilson (Woodie), Glenn, Mary (Tootie) and Beatrice (Bettye).
Carl married Daisy Claunch, and they had two children. Carl worked as a mold designer at the Three Rivers Glass Factory until it closed in 1937. He and Daisy then moved to Pennsylvania where he worked for a glass factory. Later, they moved to Palestine, where they lived the rest of their lives.
John married Louise Parks. They lived in Three Rivers their entire lives. They had two daughters, Bonnie and Betty. Bonnie married Britton Vincent, and Betty married Jimmy Boyd, both Three Rivers boys. Both girls moved away from Three Rivers after high school. John retired from Mobil Oil. He was also an accomplished carpenter. With Louise’s help, he built many homes around Three Rivers. They also had ranching interests.
Dorothy married Richard Symm. They lived in Three Rivers for a while but then lived in San Antonio and Boerne. They had four children.
Glenn lived in Three Rivers for a while. He had one daughter. He then moved away and lived in Pleasanton when he died.
Woodie married Alma Stendebach, and they lived in Three Rivers their entire lives. Woodie worked as a mechanic, where Glenn also worked for a while. Woodie then started a mechanic and auto parts business, which became known as Stendebach Auto Parts. Adolph worked in the business some. Woodie’s son Ronnie has worked in the business most all his life. Ronnie is married to Olivia Garcia. He also has a son, J.R., who lives in Portland. Ronnie and his daughter, Ann Montemayor, now run the business.
So, Stendebach Auto Parts has been in business for more than 60 years, and there have been four generations of Stendebachs working in it.
Woodie and Alma have another son, Woodie Dale, who lives in Corpus Christi. They also have two daughters, Barbara and Janet. Barbara married Sonny Roberson. They live in Alice and own and operate Roberson Funeral Home in Alice and Three Rivers. Their children, Steven and Sherrie, also work in the business. Janet married Jimmy Pawlik.
They live in George West and own and operate Pawlik’s Supply and James Pawlik Water Well Service. Their son Dwayne works in the business with them. Their daughter Lisa and husband Donald Hennicke live in College Station. Their other daughter Pam and husband Lee Wheeler live in George West. Ronnie’s daughter, Ann, and her husband, Tim Montemayor, and son, Roman, live in Three Rivers. Alma is 96 and resides in the Three Rivers Nursing Home.
Tootie married Eddie Wasser while still in high school and moved away from Three Rivers. Tootie currently lives in Luling. She is the only Stendebach sibling still living.
Bettye was the first Miss Live Oak County Queen in 1948. Shortly after, she married Raymond Smith and had a son, Wesley Scott. Tragically, Bettye was only 20 years old when she died of cancer. Fannie died in 1968 and Adolph in 1972. They had lived in Three Rivers almost 60 years.
So, with this article, we salute a family that has been in Three Rivers for 100 years and six generations. They greatly contributed to Three Rivers’ growth and helped make the town what it is today.
I want to thank Alma Stendebach, Janet Pawlik and Barbara Roberson for supplying me with the Stendebach family history.