One of the five co-founders of MAYO, Juan Patlan of San Antonio, Texas, passed away on February 14th from heart failure. He was formerly from Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Our condolences are with his family and friends at this time.
Forwarded by Jose Angel Gutierrez
Patlán was longtime community activist
By Vianna Davila – Express-News
Even the week before he died, Juan Patlán was talking about ways to make a difference in his community.
That kind of dedication is what family and friends had come to expect from Patlán, a longtime community activist whose work with organizations like the Mexican American Unity Council and National Council of La Raza would eventually earn him invitations to meet with two sitting U.S. presidents.
“My dad was an honorable man,” said his oldest son, Dagoberto. “His politics were reflected in his life. He lived what he preached.”
Patlán died Sunday in San Antonio. He was 70.
The son of a migrant worker, he learned how to appreciate political activism and education at an early age. His father, Antero, was one of the first people to sign a lawsuit calling for the integration of schools in Carrizo Springs in the 1940s. Later, Patlán would help organize school walkouts in nearby Crystal City in response to a lack of bilingual education.
In San Antonio, he was a founding member of MAUC along with other notable activists, including Willie Velásquez and current St. Mary’s University President Charles Cotrell. Patlán operated as the unity council’s president and CEO from 1969 until 1983.
Under Patlán’s direction, the organization helped pave the way for Hispanic-owned businesses and fostered inner city economic development, spearheading a project along the River Walk that eventually would become the Hyatt Regency Hotel. What Patlán also possessed was an astute business sense and an ability to work with different kinds of people, even in difficult situations, said longtime friend and colleague Arnold Flores.
“He was always a real serious thinker, he always had good ideas,” Flores said. “And he always had guts enough to push his ideas to the board.”
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the board of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank. Patlán would return to the White House several times in his career, including when President Ronald Reagan named him to two task forces on inner city redevelopment and enterprise zones.
Even after he left MAUC, he would continue to pursue real estate throughout the years, working on affordable housing development here and in the Rio Grande Valley and was chairman of the board for San Antonio Water System from 1995 until 2001.
But what he’ll be remembered for most was the sense of service at the forefront of everything he did, his friend said.
“I think San Antonio is better off because of the work that Juan Patlán did,” Flores said.
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