Rafael Leon Cortada

Obituary
17 entries
  • "Selonie and family, my condolences on the loss of a..."
    - Billie Richey
  • "Rafael Cortada appointed me interim dean of Humanities..."
    - Tom Lew
  • "Our family's condolences to your's. We could never figure..."
    - James W. Cortada
  • "Rafael Cortada, PhD. historian: Until the lions have..."
  • "My deepest sympathy to the Cortada family for your loss...."
    - Steve
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Rafael Leon Cortada , PhD., was born February 12, 1934, in New York City. His mother, Yvonne Bernier was a seamstress and his father, Rafael Ignacio Cortada was a postal worker. Rafael attended Public Schools 99 and 39 until his family moved and enrolled him in Catholic school in 1951. He was taught by Jesuits at St. Francis Xavier Military High School in Manhattan. Shortly after earning his bachelors of arts degree from Fordham University in 1955, he was drafted in the Army, served as Lieutenant and was stationed in Korea. After his military service, he furthered his education by earning a master's degree in secondary education from Columbia University in 1958 and then completed his PhD from Fordham University in Latin American and modern European History in 1967. During this period , he was teaching at New Rochelle High School from 1957-1964 and found time to get married in 1961. A transition was made when he joined the History Faculty at the University of Dayton in 1964. While he derived great satisfaction from teaching and his interaction with students, he went to work as a Foreign Service officer in the State Department from 1966 to 1969. He returned to academia, teaching at a number of colleges including Federal City College in Washington, D.C., Smith College in Massachusetts, Howard University , Medgar Evers College and Hostos Community College in New York. During this period he wrote his first book, in 1974, Black Studies, An Urban Comparative Curriculum. Increasingly, administration took the forefront when in 1974 to 1977 he served as president at Metropolitan Community College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From there, he moved back East and accepted the presidency at Community College of Baltimore where he served from 1977-1982. From 1982 until 1987, he was lured West and served as president of El Camino College in Torrance, California and taught graduate courses at both Pepperdine University in Malibu and Los Angeles. In 1987, he was appointed president of the University of the District of Columbia and served in that post until 1990, when he was named president of Wayne County Community College in Detroit, Michigan. From 1994-1999, Rafael was president of Central Ohio Technical College in Newark, Ohio. From 1999 until his retirement in 2001, Rafael taught history education at Ohio State University at Newark. Rafael retired in 2001 to Maryland from Ohio State Newark Campus to enjoy his family. He spent those years traveling with his wife, father, mother-in-law and family poodle Miele. He enjoyed a plethora of adventures with his grandchildren. When Rafael became more immobile his family brought the adventures to him. Every holiday was celebrated together as a family and weekends were full of visits from friends and family. Rafael was a man loved and admired by those who knew him. His wisdom, brilliance and extensive knowledge of history always kept the family spellbound. He told stories of his youth, playing stickball in the Bronx and his dream of becoming a professional baseball player with the White Sox. His dreams were dashed when his mother put education before baseball and refused to sign a contract that was offered since he was underage so he was off to Fordham. He did participate in Cross Country Track while at Fordham but baseball remained his love. His favorite team was the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rafael was an inspiration to all and a man of principal and valor. His kindness and generosity were felt by all. He opened his heart and home to his father Popi and mother-in-law Dorothy, also know as Dot Dot for a total of 32 years. He touched more people than his family will ever know. While at Greater Baltimore Medical Center a gentleman happened to recognize his name on a chart. He found Rafael in Surgical Intensive Care Unit and came to his bedside. He told him his name and asked him if he remembered him. He then spoke of how back in 1980 while at the Community College of Baltimore he asked then President Cortada to help his wife with the translation of immigration papers which lead to her U.S. citizenship. It would have never happened without Rafael and the gentleman never forgot him after 47 years. Rafael is survived by his wife of 56 years, Selonie, their children, Celia Dokas and her husband Donald, Natalia Houston, and Rafael Cortada, Jr., grandchildren Alex, Noelle, and Marshall Dokas, Zachary Houston, and Rafael and Alicia Cortada. Rafael was predeceased by his parents Yvonne Bernier Cortada and Rafael Ignacio Cortada and by his sister Natalia Eveleno. Rafael has an admiring nephew William "Luchi" Jones and his wife Susan Cortilet who he greatly influenced. He was not only a terrific uncle but a wonderful father figure. Rafael also has family in Puerto Rico and New York. The family will receive family and friends on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm at Haight Funeral Home & Chapel, 6416 Sykesville Road, Sykesville. Funeral liturgy will be held on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 10:00 am at St. Joseph Catholic Community, 915 Liberty Rd., Eldersburg., MD. Interment in Lake View Memorial Park, Sykesville.



Funeral Home
Haight Funeral Home & Chapel
6416 Sykesville Road
Sykesville, MD 21784
410-795-1400
Published in Carroll County Times on Apr. 14, 2017