She was perhaps best known as the wife of the late Congressman Edward Roybal, and the mother of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, but Lucille Beserra Roybal should also be remembered for her individual accomplishments, included the co-founding of the Community Service Organization (CSO), and serving as one of the first Latina registrar of voters in Los Angeles.
Lucille Beserra Roybal, passed away Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 at approximately 3:00 a.m., according to a statement released by the office of her daughter, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard.
The matriarch of the Roybal family passed away peacefully in her sleep, two weeks before her ninety-sixth birthday, according to the statement.
Lucille Beserra Roybal was born on January 5, 1917 in Los Angeles, California to Manuel Albert Beserra a and Prudenciana Moreno Beserra. She was the third child of four siblings and was raised in Boyle Heights, in the heart of East Los Angeles.
According to Roybal-Allard’s statement, her mother’s father, a house painter and her homemaker mother “instilled in their children the value of education and encouraged academic excellence, as well as the value of justice for all.”
Beserra Roybal graduated from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights. In September, 1940, she married Edward R. Roybal and they had three children: Lucille, Lillian and Edward, Jr. The couple was married for sixty-five years, until the congressman’s passing in 2005.
Lucille Beserra Roybal was a political activist and played an integral leadership role in her husband’s Los Angeles City Council and Congressional campaigns. She also “lent her time, energy and leadership to various grassroots and community based causes throughout her life,” particularly in areas related to public health issues. She served as an outreach representative for the Well Baby Clinic, The Red Cross and other public health and charitable organizations.
Her contributions were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council with the naming of the Lucille Beserra Roybal Family Source Center in her honor. In 1993 and 1996 the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and MANA (a national Latina advocacy organization) respectively honored Beserra Roybal with their highest award for her tireless dedication to the Latino community both in Los Angeles and nationwide.
Lucille Beserra Roybal is being remembered as a “Latina pioneer, an icon, visionary and a true leader of service, and someone whose spirit and work has had a lasting effect on the Chicano/Latino community.
Funeral services will commence this evening, Jan. 3 with a viewing at 3 p.m. and a Rosary at 6:30 p.m. at Calvary Mortuary Chapel, located at 4201 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90023. Funeral Mass and Internment will be held Friday, Jan. 4th at 11 a.m. at Calvary Mortuary Chapel and Cemetery respectively. A reception will follow at Steven’s Steak and Seafood House located at 5332 Stevens Place, Commerce, CA 90040.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to The Roybal Foundation: 5253 East Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022-2020. For more information, call (323) 725-3960.