Houston loses a mayor
"I am going to try to make a mayor such as Houston never had before."
-- Joseph Pastoriza, 1917
Mayor Joseph J. Pastoriza hadn't been in office very long.
Before taking office in 1917, the New Orleans native was the city's tax commissioner. Online references credit him with taxing land values more and buildings less and being a follower of the economic ideology of Georgism.
On July 9, 1917, Pastoriza began his day at City Hall, according to The Houston Press. Later that morning he reported feeling ill and was driven home about 10 a.m. to rest.
After arriving at his house at 2204 Austin St., Pastoriza went upstairs, changed clothes, and went to the restroom to take some medicine.
A few minutes later, his wife went to check on him after realizing he was still in the bathroom. When she opened the door, she found him lying across the bathtub.
Frantic, she called a nearby friend to help her take him to the bedroom. A doctor was called and Pastoriza was pronounced dead sometime around 11 a.m.
A physician on the scene -- Dr. E. Marvin Bailey -- said heart trouble and job stress likely led to Pastoriza's death. Bailey told him that running for mayor wouldn't be good for his health.
Tax Commissioner Daniel Moody was named interim mayor until Joseph Hutcheson was elected to office in a special election.
Born to Spanish parents in 1857, Pastoriza was orphaned at a young age, according to The Houston Press. His mother died a few days after his birth, and his father died of yellow fever when Pastoriza was just over a year old. Death struck again when Pastoriza's foster parents died when he was just 7.