Dr. Carlos Maldonado passed away, after fighting a long battle with cancer, Sept. 18, 2008, at the age of 55, in Yoder, Ore. Born on Dec. 12, 1953, in South Texas, Maldonado and his wife migrated to the Northwest in the early 1960s and have lived in the Spokane area since 1987. He touched and changed the lives of many who knew and met him.
Maldonado was a devoted husband to his beloved wife, Rachael, of 33 years. Together they researched and wrote an article titled “The Mexicanization of a Northwest Community: The Case of Woodburn, Oregon.” This article will be incorporated into an upcoming book titled “Mexicanos in Greater Aztlan: From the Pacific Northwest to the New South.” The publication will be produced by the Julian Samora Research Center. Maldonado published many other works during his career, including various articles, book chapters and books on the Chicano/Latino experiences in the Northwest.
When not working with his wife, Maldonado served as chairperson of the coordinating board of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) and as director of the first National Office of NACCS.
In addition to his leadership roles, Maldonado was an educator, who served Eastern Washington University for 21 years as director of the Chicano Education Program (CEP). He taught Chicano literature, history and culture. He was also successful in bringing the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), a program designed to enroll students from farm-working backgrounds, to EWU. During his tenure in the program, he was able to bring in more than $40,000 in scholarships every year. Some of his last words before retiring from the CEP were, “I leave the Chicano Education Program with my head up high and privileged of having had the opportunity to serve a great program in Washington state and EWU.”
Maldonado was a significant mentor to many EWU students. “Every time I would go into his office for assistance he would go out of his way to help in every way possible. He would contact people for me and give me advice on various topics,” said Veaney Martinez, the coordinator for the Amigos y Amigas Unidos Triunfaremos Mentoring Initiative Program and a master’s student for the social work department. He helped students gain knowledge and understanding of the various Chicano/a issues and encouraged them to get involved. He also supported the various clubs and organizations established within the CEP.
His accomplishments, as well as his dedication and passion for justice and social equality, have impacted many lives, including those of his students whom he took under his wings.
A memorial service will be held on Oct. 8, in the Showalter Auditorium at 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to gather in the Monroe Lounge after the service for some light refreshments and to celebrate his life.
A scholarship fund was created in his honor to continue to support those individuals seeking an education. Please contact the CEP for more information or to make a donation.