Frank Zaruba 2006



Frank Zaruba
Inducted in 2006

Frank Zaruba was born on August 17, 1932, on the family farm in the Vsetin area of Lavaca County, Texas. When he was 9 years old he bought a fiddle for $5.00. His older brother, Robert, bought a guitar for $2.25 before he went into the service, and told Frank and his other brother, Joe, not to touch the guitar while he was gone. Ignoring the admonition, Frank and Joe took the guitar out to play as soon as their brother left. A friend came to the house, tuned the guitar, and taught them three chords, G, C and D. Frank thought that those sounds from the guitar were the most beautiful sounds he had ever heard, and he learned more chords as he played.

His love for this music was off and running.Frank completed his primary education at the country school in Vsetin, and then attended and graduated from Hallettsville High School. Although Frank played baseball and tennis in high school, he also continued playing the guitar, and was asked to play in a newly formed band Sonny and the Texas Hillbillies, which made as much as $10 a night in the Kenedy, Texas, area on weekends, and $3 a night at Renger’s Bar in Hallettsville on Tuesday nights. After, high school, Frank attended Victoria College, where he played semi-pro baseball for the Victoria Rosebuds. He then graduated from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos with a BBA degree as well as a teacher’s certificate, and played tennis for the college team. There were not many musicians in college, so he had to keep up his skills on his own.While working on his Masters Degree and teaching at San Antonio East Central High School, Frank was drafted and served in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.

Once again, there were not many musicians in the Army, so Frank had to continue on his own, but when leaving the service his Sears & Roebuck guitar was destroyed in shipment back home. After getting married, Frank received a small amount from an oil lease on land he inherited from his mother, and bought a sewing machine for his wife and a Martin guitar for himself that he has been playing ever since. Frank and Rita Grahmann were married on November 8, 1958, in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Hallettsville. They have two children, Jack, born in 1961, and Donna, born in 1966. Jack married Sandy Mikes in 1982, and they have three children, Mark (1982), James (1986), and Michael (1996). Donna married Kevin Walker in 1991, and they have two children, Annie (1996), and Ethan (1999).

Frank has worked in accounting for his in uncle in the automobile business, then was the Chevrolet dealer in Hallettsville from 1975 to 1991, and has been an independent petroleum landman since 1974. Frank has been a little League baseball coach or sponsor since the early 1950’s, served as a Hallettsville I..S.D. board member for many years, and is currently serving as a member of the Hallettsville Economic Development Board. Frank loves playing and watching tennis, and he is an avid rancher and deer hunter. He enjoys tracing his family ancestry, spending time with his grandchildren and following them in their activities.

Rounding it all out, of course, is Frank’s love of music. He really loves attending bluegrass festivals with his wife, making music with his friends by playing the guitar and mandolin, and serving as a co-chairman of the Texas State Championship Fiddlers’ Frolics for these 35 years; he’s even designed and made the State Champion plaque. Indeed, Frank, as co-founder of the Fiddlers Frolics, is why we are all here today, and that is a whole other story!