FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2013
I am saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Leonel J. Castillo, this morning. I am proud to have known him personally as a friend and mentor. He was a champion for social justice, a true progressive, a pioneer in Houston politics and an icon in our Latino community. Leonel blazed trails for Latinos in Houston and opened doors as the first Latino elected to city wide office as city controller of Houston in 1971. As city controller, his work for honesty, transparency and accountability in the office led to the coining of the phrase "watchdog at city hall". One of his biggest distinctions was the appointment to Commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. A social worker at heart, he was as an intellectual with great compassion for people and worked tirelessly for the underdog. But most of all, Leonel was a man devoted to his faith, family and nation. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Evelyn, and his family. While he will be missed, we will certainly remember his life at the grand opening of the Leonel J. Castillo Community Center this Saturday, November 9, at 2101 South Street, Houston, TX. Funeral arrangements to follow.