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Leo E. Cardenas, a citadel of leadership and integrity
Photo courtesy: Leo Cardenas Family

By Bob Barela

Udate como DIOS Te udaré – Guide your life as GOD would so want

These were the poignant words Leo Cardenas practiced daily. Leo was born on February 8, 1935 in Del Rio, Texas to Oscar and Gertrudes Cardenas.

In December of 1957 he married Odilia Garcia of Alice, Texas. Later, Leo and Odie moved to San Antonio, Texas where they raised their three children: Yvonne, Larry and Randy. His early years in education especially at San Felipe High School, displayed his thirst, passion and quest for Journalism. Besides being an Eagle Scout, Cardenas was Class President and Editor of the school newspaper.

After high school graduation Cardenas attended the University in Austin, Texas, where he majored in Journalism. After graduating from the University of Texas, Cardenas started his first job as a journalist as the Assistant City Editor and became the only Hispanic in management.

During his undergraduate studies he appraised the Hispanic Community that enriched America and believed that his heritage lives in the cadences of leadership, music, education, economic development, religion, music, art, and beautiful sounds of the Spanish language. This was just the beginning of state and governmental agencies wanting Cardenas’ leadership, vision, organizational and executive skills.

In the seventies and eighties Cardenas held executive positions with the Department of Justice, Community Relations Division in Washington D.C. and later in Denver, comprising the six-state area in Region VIII. Under his jurisdiction Leo was involved with the historic Wounded Knee Operation working side by side with the FBI.

With his writing skills, he helped print a national magazine for LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens. His bilingual journalism skills were always in demand nationwide. Before he retired, he received numerous awards for his journalistic successes.

In the winter of his life, he continued to be the loving husband, father, grandfather and spent more time with his family. He loved to be with his grandchildren and see them grow and succeed. He used to say “it doesn’t get any better than this.” Leo was a quiet. wise, humble, effective communicator, sensitive and proud American. He loved his family, his GOD and his country.

Oh yes he always loved his “GOLF. Saturdays were special because it was time to be at the country club and meet with the executives, Robert Espinoza, Ron Montoya, Paco Flores, Jose Trujillo and more. Leo’s favorite number is “FORE”. We’ll miss you Leo. Leo went to his GOD on September 18, 2019. Pax Tecum

Leo Cardenas was a remarkable friend and colleague. I first met him when he was working at the DOJ as the Regional Director of the Community Relations Service and I was in the State Legislature. He was always someone you could call on to help our community find solutions to critical issues before conflict arose. But more than that, he was a friend who was always willing to help whatever the circumstances warranted. He will be missed.

Polly Baca

Former Colorado State Senator

Leo was a real gentleman, respectful to all, great fun on the golf course. Most of all I respected his love of God and Church.

Ron Montoya

Services: Funeral, Monday, October 14.
Notre Dame Catholic Church
2190 S. Sheridan Blvd.
Denver, CO





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