Local media is reporting that Leonel Castillo passed away today. Castillo had a long and distinguished career in local and national public service, serving as the commissioner of the immigration and naturalization service under President Jimmy Carter. In Houston he was a former city controller (the first Hispanic to be elected to that office), he worked to improve education and represented the Hispanic community. Castillo was 74.
For more information about Castillo, check out the oral history interviews he did with the Houston Public Library’s Houston Metropolitan Research Center:
- Video interview with Leonel Castillo, dated September 29, 2006.
- Audio interview with Leonel Castillo, dated March 7, 1975.
On Saturday, November 9, 2013, Neighborhood Centers is holding the grand opening celebration for the Leonel Castillo Community Center, located at 2101 South Street, 77009. What an irony that he passed away just a few days before the ceremony.
I had the honor of working with Castillo during my brief career in local politics. He was a witty, intelligent and warm man who genuinely wanted to improve our community. He will be missed.
UPDATE: Mayor Annise Parker sent out the following statement on Castillo’s passing: “I am saddened to hear of the passing of Leonel Castillo. He was a kind, engaging and compassionate man who gave much back to Houston and our nation. As the first Hispanic to be elected citywide, he blazed a trail for those who have followed him. He was truly a pillar of our community and will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
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