Tracy Franz Ligon, 53, died on Sunday evening, August 25, 2019, after a 16-day battle with metastasized breast cancer that she aptly described as a ‘freight train’. Never one to be a burden, she tried to die sneakily while her family was distracted by dinner, but was caught in the act and exited life with her hands held, surrounded by those who loved her.
Tracy recently moved back to her beloved New Braunfels, where she attended New Braunfels High School, made life-long friends, spent summers working at the Tube Chute, and danced through her four years as Captain of the Monoceras. After graduating high school in 1984, she went on to study at the University of Texas in Austin.
Though she decided to become a teacher mostly because her parents told her to just hurry up and pick something already, she found her passion. Twenty-five years of students benefitted from her no-nonsense teaching style, creative programs like Fishing Club and Reading Restaurant, infectious love of math and science, and insistence on doing the various voices and accents when reading aloud.
She was a lover of adventure, from skydiving to backpacking through Italy for her 50th birthday, a devotee of burgers and barbecue, an unabashed follower of reality television, and a fan of sleeping in, country music, Labrador retrievers, hunting and fishing, and UT football. Her family and friends will remember her for her quick wit, inappropriate sense of humor, and her laid-back, loving, and non-judgmental attitude.
Tracy was, among other things, a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She leaves behind two adult children, her parents and step parents, four brothers and one sister, and a multitude of cousins, nieces and nephews, and friends who will miss her but are thankful for the time they all had with her.
She went out of life like she went through it: like a tank. She never decried the unfairness of life or spent time feeling sorry for herself. When the doctor told her that her life expectancy could be measured in days rather than weeks, she fist-pumped and shouted “Fifty three years! And plenty of good stuff packed in.”
Tracy decided on cremation twenty years ago, shortly after attending the open-casket funeral of an older relative who was buried in a red nightie. In accordance with her wishes, there will not be a funeral—she instructed for there to be a Celebration of Life party “once everyone has quit crying”.
Never one for organized religion (though hesitant to say it out loud in case God was, in fact, listening), her idea of heaven includes her two beloved bird dogs who beat her there, the best wine ten dollars can buy, 80s rock, a field of sunflowers, and Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles. Heaven will not have olives, okra, crooked frames on any of the walls, or the much-detested sound of her students humming or tapping their pencils.
She was, and is, so loved, and will be dearly missed.