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Braulio ALONSO



ALONSO, Braulio, a Tampa native, died June 5, 2010. He was preceded in

death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Adelfa Diaz Alonso (Bebe); and is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Dr. Kenneth B. and Pilar Alonso; daughter, Barbara A. Byars; grandchildren, Dr. Joanne A. and Walt A. Byars; sisters, Teresa Bedford and Zoraida Landeta and husband, Philip; nephews, Dr. Charles Bedford, Dr. Kenneth Bedford, John Bedford, Philip Landeta Jr., David Landeta; nieces, Cynthia Bifulco, Judith Diaz Collier and Patricia Ingraham; godchildren, Joan Wood, Don McClain and Linda Demer; in-law, Leonor Diaz; and several cousins. Braulio was devoted to our Lord, Jesus Christ. He tried to see good in everyone, believed in dignity of all. Braulio graduated from Hillsborough High school, the University of Tampa, and the University of Florida. He had a doctorate in education and three honorary doctorates. He started his teaching career as a teacher of chemistry and physics at Plant High School. He was drafted in September 1941. After Pearl Harbor he was sent to Officers' Candidate School in Fort Sill, Okla., and graduated as artillery officer in April 1942. He served with the 85th Infantry Division, 328th Field Battalion as battery commander-captain in World War II in North Africa and the entire Italian Campaign, and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Stars with Cluster. After returning from the military in December 1945, he headed the program to provide on-the-job training for returning veterans, and worked with State

Department of Education and local high school principals to establish the Veterans Institute for returning veterans to receive their high school diplomas on an accelerated basis or earn a GED. Hundreds availed themselves of this opportunity at night. The program developed into what is now the Adult Education High School. Braulio served as principal of West Tampa Junior High School, Jefferson High School, and King High School. He was elected president of the Hillsborough County Education association in 1952, served three terms, and led the drive to integrate the association. He was elected president of the Florida Education Association in 1957, and led the drive to integrate that organization. He served as a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the National Education Association (NEA). As President of the NEA, he helped with the merger of the NEA and the African-American Teachers Association (ATA), and led efforts to complete the mergers of the teacher associations in the southern associations that had not yet integrated; started the NEA Human Rights Commission; participated in human and civil rights demonstrations in various states; and attended the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., as an invited guest. As president of NEA during the 1968 teachers' walkout in Florida, he resigned his position with the Hillsborough County School Board to back the Florida teachers. He became director of international relations for NEA and continued relationships with teacher organizations worldwide. He coordinated activities with the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Professions (WCOTP), based in Switzerland; NEA and WCOTP helped develop UNESCO Standards for the Teaching Profession. He helped NEA get European teacher organizations to join with NEA for an International Conference to combat Racism, Anti-Semitism and Apartheid, and was its secretary. In 1966 he was asked to mediate a dispute among teacher organizations and the Bolivian government. This was the first of many missions to mediate disputes, including in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Ghana. In 1970 he established with State

Department approval a working relationship between NEA and Educational and Scientific Workers Union of the Soviet Union, and planned the visits where NEA teachers visited the Soviet Union and USSR teachers visited the United States. Braulio organized the campaign that saved the life of the president of the education association of Argentina when he was numbered among the "desaparecidos" following the military coup in 1976. Braulio wrote extensive papers on the educational systems of Japan, Australia, Soviet Union (Russia, Republic of Georgia, Tashkent), France, West Germany, Great Britain, Scotland, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile and Cuba. He led NEA delegations to Cuba in 1980 and 1982. He was formerly Alcalde of Ybor City, and was a member of Florida Pan-American Commission, United Nations Association, U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, National Advisory Committee for Exchange of Teachers, Committee for South Korea Relief, National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice, International Development Conference, Freedom From Hunger Foundation, Council of Hemispheric Affairs, and Washington Office on Latin America. Between 1968 and 1983, he received several honors and awards, such as: WCOTP Russell Medal Distinguished Service Award (Switzerland); UN Association Human Rights Award; Israel Government Citation; International and Human Rights awards from Israel Teachers Union, Associacion Naciaonal de Educadores (Costa Rica), NIKKYSO (Japan), Korean Federation of Educations Association, Confederecao do Profesores do Brazil, Canadian Teachers Federation, Kenya Natl Union of Teachers, Sindicat National de Instituteurs (France), National Union of Teachers (England), and Federacion de Educadores de Paraguay. After his retirement in Tampa in 1983, he was active in supporting human and civil rights, and tutoring and mentoring students. He was a Meals on Wheels driver and coordinator for 12 years; served on the Tampa/Hillsborough Arts Council, Ybor City Chamber of Commerce Board, and Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee; and was president of St. Vincent de Paul for 12 years. A member since its inception of University of South Florida Latino Advisory Committee, he served as second chairman when the committee developed a scholarship program to provide four-year USF scholarships for needy Latino students (114 students now on scholarship.) He received numerous local awards, including: Hillsborough High School Hall of Fame; Jefferson High School Hall of Fame; Hillel School Science Award; Salvation Army People of Dedication Award; Meals on Wheels Award; St. Vincent de Paul Society Ozanam Award; Board of County commissioners Favorite Sons and Daughter Award; University of Tampa Esse Quam Videre Award; USF President' s Distinguished Citizen Award; Hillsborough Bar Association Liberty Bell Award; Jinete Award from Caballeros del Centro Asturiano; NEA H. Council Trenholm Award for Human and Civil Rights; and an honorary doctorate from USF. The School Board named Braulio Alonso High School after him. He dedicated his later years to helping the poor and needy, guided by Matthew 25:35-40. He was a member of Christ the King Catholic Church, served on the Parish Council, was a Lector and Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults sponsor and teacher, and assisted in Bible studies. He was fluent in four languages. Pallbearers are Walt Byars, John Bedford, Philip Landeta Jr., Ronald Rosas, Don McClain, William Clark, Charles Corces and Eloy Noriega. Honorary pallbearers are Philip Landeta, Charles Bedford, Kenneth Bedford, David Landeta, Cynthia Bifulco, Judith Collier, Patricia Ingraham, Orie Byars, Delavane Diaz, Joe Yglesias, Joan Wood, Linda Demer, Cristina Noriega, Enrique Fuente, Juan Jose Cosio, Tommy Marrero, Greg Martinez, Danny Martinez, Judge Elvin Martinez, Frank Zaremba, Robert Childs, Albert Nieto, Dr Sandy Bunkin, Louis Diaz, Linda Phillips, Donna Parrino and George Fischer. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hillsborough Education Foundation, 2010 E. Hillsborough Ave., Suite 212, Tampa, FL 33610, for the Braulio and Adelfa

Published in TBO.com on June 7, 2010
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