“My dad was a compassionate, generous, humble, philosophical, intelligent man,” said Susan Sifuentes Trigueros, remarking on the passing of her father, longtime community activist and writer Frank Sifuentes.
Sifuentes died on Oct. 8; he was 80 years old.
He was born in Austin, Texas on May 18, 1932 and was one of 13 siblings.
Sifuentes served in the Navy during the Korean War. He went on to graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a Minor in Spanish.
According to Trigueros, Sifuentes was “an ardent advocate for social justice and education. She said he always encouraged young people to get an education, and to “pursue their passion.
“He spoke with great pride about a time he helped recruit 66 Latino students to USC when no one was focusing on advancing Latinos in higher education,” she told EGP.
Sifuentes spent many years working with local community based organizations, often as a grant writer.
But he was perhaps best known for his writings, or “cuentos” (stories), which photographer Oscar Castillo said “were taken from his life experience of growing up in Austin, Texas and allowed the reader a feeling of the Chicano experience.”
Sifuentes co-founded “Con Safos” magazine along with several other Latino writers. During the early 1990s he was the magazine’s Publisher Editor, and the coordinator of the magazine’s writing workshops.
On the La Bloga website, where a written memorial sprung up as news of Sifuentes’ passing spread, Castillo noted that Sifuentes wrote under the pen name “Pancho del Rancho,” the same name staff of Con Safos referred to him by.
“He was always ready to help guide his friends and share his knowledge with others,” wrote Castillo, adding that it was Sifuentes who set him on the road to becoming a photographer 15 years ago.
“Frank was a talented Con Safos writer and story teller, but his real talent was spotting potential in young people and encouraging many including myself to pursue their dreams,” wrote artist Sergio Hernandez on the La Bloga site, in a post titled “Frank Sifuentes — A Remembrance by Friends.”
“He was the unofficial ‘Talent scout’ of the barrio. Frank was not a rich man yet he helped so many people financially. I know that I am not alone when I say that Frank has a place in many hearts including mine.”
Sifuentes’ columns regularly appeared in Eastern Group Publications newspapers. Publisher Dolores Sanchez recalled his passion for social issues, his talented writing style, and his ever-present sense of humor.
“He was a good man who will be sorely missed,” added EGP Associate Publisher Jonathan Sanchez
Film and TV director and writer Jesus Trevino credits Sifuentes for setting him on his filmmaking path.”
Trevino tells the story of how he had graduated from college, but was turned down by all the graduate schools to which he had applied, and was facing the draft and Vietnam, a chance encounter with Sifuentes led him to a film school for minority youth. Sifuentes encouraged him to apply, and he was admitted.
“The fictional character George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is shown how his life has affected so many people positively and how sad a world it would be without him. I think of Frank in the same way. I can’t imagine what the world would be like without Frank having been here to help, befriend and guide so many of us,” wrote Trevino.
His daughter said he instilled pride in culture and the value of helping others in his children.
“He found humor in most situations…even the most challenging and to the very end of his life,” Trigueros told EGP.
Sifuentes was married to his wife Sarah for 58 years. They had six children, eleven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
A Rosary will be held on Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at All Souls Mortuary and Catholic Cemetery, 4400 Cherry Avenue, Long Beach. A funeral Mass will be held the next day, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m., as the same location.
Friday, Oct. 19
6-9pm—Opening Reception of “Sacred Memories,” a Dia de Los Muertos Exhibit being held at the Pico House Gallery at El Pueblo Historical Monument-Olvera Street. View works of a number of local artists’ related to the day. Exhibit is open 10am-3pm Sat-Wed, Oct. 21-Nov. 18. Gallery address: 424 N. Main St., LA 90012. For more information, visit www.elpueblo.lacity.org or call (213) 485-8437.
Saturday, Oct. 20
12 Noon-8pm—El Centro de Pueblo’s free Dia de los Muertos celebration will include altars, music, culture, entertainment, face painting, arts and crafts workshops, food and refreshments and an art exhibition curated by Margaret Garcia with works by 50 artists. Voter registration will be part of the event. Proceeds from food booths will go to purchase toys and other items for upcoming holiday events for families served by the center. For more information, call (213) 483-6335.
Sunday, Oct. 21
3-7pm—Opening Reception for ChimMaya’s 7th Annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition, expanded this year to include multi-layered works related to important social issues in the run up to the Nov. presidential election. Exhibit includes artists from the East-to-West Coast and Mexico. ChimMaya Art Gallery is located at 5283 E. Beverly Blvd, LA 90022. For more information, go to www.chimmaya.com or call (323) 869-888.
Thursday, Oct. 25
7pm—Dia de Los Muertos on Olvera Street kicks off with Candlight Novenarios procession; continues nightly at 7pm. through Nov. 2. Children’s workshops from 9am-1pm Oct. 17-19, 24-26 & Nov. 1-2. On the weekends of Oct. 27-28 & Nov. 3-4, enjoy face painting, street theater performances, strolling mariachi bands, Aztec dancers, art workshops, puppets, ballet folklorico, piñatas and other fun family activities from 12 noon to 6pm. El Pueblo is located at 125 Paseo de la Plaza in downtown LA (across from Union Station.) For more information call (213) 625-7074 or go to www.lacity.org/elp
12Noon-12Midnight—Hollywood Forever Cemetery 13th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival this year explores pre-Aztec roots of Dia de los Muertos and explores Mayan Gods, rituals and calendar. Live music, mexican cuisine, crafts and more. $10 admission/children under 8 & adults over 65 free until 4pm. Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd. LA 90038. For more information, go to www.ladayofthedead.com .
3-9pm—¡Vivan Los Muertos! At the Autry in Griffith Park -Day of the Dead festival features lively music, dance, storytelling, and elaborately decorated altars, showcasing Danza Azteca Xocoyote, Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet, and an after-party. Museum Admission Rates Apply / Free for Autry Members For more information, visit The Autry.org
5pm-Midnight—Día De Los Muertos: Honoring Life In The Struggle, a public event presented by Northern Southern Winds at the Historical Maravilla Handball Courts. Features music, food vendors, community alter & activities for the whole family. Maravilla Handball Courts are located at 501 Mednik Ave, LA 90022. For more information call (323) 474-4600.
Sunday, Oct. 28
11am-5:30pm—Rose Hills Memorial Park Dia de Los Muertos Cultural Festival and Marketplace. Free admission; included art, music , food and artisans selling their wares. Rose Hills is located at 3888 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier 90601. For more information, go to www.DayoftheDead-RoseHills.com.
Noon-4pm—LA Plaza de Culturas y Artes celebrates with live music, and arts & crafts workshops: create nichos, calaveras masks & more. Free admission. LA Plaza is located at 500 N. Main St, downtown LA 90012. For more info, go to lapca.org.
Thursday, Nov. 1
10am-3pm—Dia de los Muertos Festival at East Los Angeles college, with live performances, Ixtli Yolotl, and an altar display at the Vinent Price Gallery. Bring a new toy for student toy drive. ELAC is located at 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park 91754, between S1 & S2 buildings. For more information, email email@example.com.
5-9pm—Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts & Education Traditional Ceremonial Blessing and community art workshops. Face painting, Mexican cut flowers, papel picado, Día de Los Muertos masks, skeleton puppets. Special screening: Macario 7pm; Margo Albert Theater Live performances, community alters, Día de Los Muertos Exhibit, food available. Plaza de la Raza is located at 3540 N. Mission Rd., LA 90031. For more information, call (323) 223-2475 or go to www.plazadelaraza.org
Friday, Nov. 2
5-11pm—Self Help Graphics & Arts 39th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration—Recuerdos Que Nunca Mueren (Memories That Never Die) —a free public event., musical performances, food and craft vendors, face painting and children’s workshops. Dress in your best Katrin, Katrina, or Calaca attire for dancing, fotos, or just to be with the spirits and antepasados! Procession starts at 5pm at Mariachi Plaza, take Metro Goldline to Mariachi Plaza station. Self Help is located at 1300 East 1st Street, Boyle Heights, 90033 – Metro Gold Line Pico Aliso stop. For more information, go to www.selfhelpgraphics.com
6-8pm—Forest Lawn Covina & Forest Lawn Cypress host free 3rd Annual Dia de los Muertos events, where family and friends can honor, celebrate and remember loved ones who have passed away. Bring a photo of a loved one to place on community altar. Events include live mariachi music, Aztec dancers and a special ceremony. Forest Lawn Covina is located at 21300 Via Verde Dr., Covina 91724. Forest Lawn Cypress is located at 4471 Lincoln Ave. Cypress, 90603. For more information, visit www.forestlawn.com or call (800) 445-4303.
2pm-2am—Boyle Heights Certified Farmers Market Presents 3rd Annual Dia de Los Muertos. Live bands, DJs and entertainment all night long. Vendors, food, arts and crafts, face painting. For more information contact Tonie (951) 224-4164
2-4pm—Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos at Grand Park in downtown LA with live music, visual artists, food trucks, altars and more. For more information visit grandpark.lacounty.gov/