Family, friends and colleagues gathered for a moving and funny memorial service to Carlos Guerra, the San Antonio columnist, education activist and Hispanic trailbrazer beloved in the Alamo City and beyond. Watch video of the live webcast here.
During the service at Palo Alto College's Performing Arts Center on Dec. 11, Guerra was remembered as a Hispanic journalism pioneer and a staunch supporter of education for minorities. After retiring from the San Antonio Express-News, he founded the Carlos Guerra Memorial Scholarship Fund at his alma mater, Texas A&M Kingsville. The scholarship is one of Guerra's proudest achievements.
"The best way to remember Carlos is to keep his scholarship alive," said his sister Marta Flores Guerra, who recalled her brother as an Eagle Scout, a rebel who loved to sing and tell jokes and a man who made you laugh no matter the seriousness of the subject that he was expounding.
Guerra once wrote on his Facebook page that when he died, he wanted the Latino trio Los Tres Reyes to play "Tierra Mexicana" at his funeral. And so, Los Tres Reyes did, and the house went silent with the wrenching words about growing up Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano or Hispanic in Texas, a state that was once part of Mexico.
Several hundred people, including teachers and colleagues who went to school with Guerra and worked him at the Express-News, paid tribute. There were anecdotes and stories about Guerra and despite many tears, the mood was upbeat.
Guerra died suddenly Dec. 6 at a condo he rented in Port Aransas where he loved to escape and spend time fishing, writing, cooking gourmet meals, watching sunsets and musing about life.
Guerra, 63, whose scholarship roast in September was marked by a city proclamation of "Carlos Guerra Day," stayed at the Casa Condominiums in Port Aransas the last month of his life.
Guerra's family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Carlos Guerra Memorial Scholarship Fund, which raised $7,000 in September and another $2,200 from 300 individual donations.
Guerra said he wanted the scholarship to go to first-generation college students from a 35-county area from San Antonio south to the Rio Grande Valley. He had hoped to organize a communications symposium at A&M on social media for college and high school journalism students.
Tributes to Guerra have been written from across Texas and beyond. Here is a sampling:
- Facebook event page - You must be logged in to Facebook to view.
- NewsTaco - This was one of Carlos' last ventures before his passing.
- "Funding scholarships wasamong Guerra's final deeds" - San Antonio Express-News
- "Words a testament to Guerra's broad purpose" - Cary Clack, San Antonio Express-News
- Letters From Texas
- "Former E-N columnist found dead" - San Antonio Express-News
- "Guerra didn't give up hope for a better Texas" - Veronica Flores-Paniagua, San Antonio Express-News
- "The passing of Carlos Guerra, and a generation" - Russell Contreras, National Assoc. of Hispanic Journalists