Leobardo Felipe Estrada
1945 - 2018
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May 6, 1945 - November 3, 2018 Leobardo ("Leo") Felipe Estrada, who recently retired after a four-decade career at UCLA, passed away on November 3, 2018 at his home in Playa del Rey, California, surrounded by his family and close friends. He was 73. Born in El Paso, Texas, on May 6, 1945, Leo was the son of Leobardo Estrada, a prominent Baptist minister, and his wife Isabel. When Leo was four years old, the family moved to Dallas and eight years later to Los Angeles where he graduated in 1962 from El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera. He attended Baylor University, graduating in 1966 and continued his education at Florida State University, earning a Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography in 1970. Leo began his teaching career in 1970 at North Texas State University in Denton where he taught Sociology. In 1977, he joined the faculty at UCLA's Department of Urban Planning and retired after four decades in June 2018. In 2015, he was the first Latino elected as Chair of the Academic Senate. Over his 48 years in academia, he also did research or taught in various institutions including the University of Texas El Paso, the U.S. Bureau of the Census in Washington, the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center, the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the University of Sinaloa in Mexico. Leo was the ultimate teacher. Teaching and mentoring were his deepest passions and he trained, inspired and empowered hundreds of students whose careers were launched and advanced in great part due to his support. His success with students came from a unique and effective blend of Socratic listening and questioning, appreciation of the whole person, gentle yet persuasive encouragement, and savvy guidance for surmounting challenges, especially those of students without role models in educational pursuits. At his retirement, many of his colleagues recognized and praised his role in making UCLA's Urban Planning program more student-centric. As a researcher, Leo reached far beyond the academic spheres. He was a leading applied researcher on the elderly, urban conflict, census policies and methods, and most importantly, in redistricting efforts impacting Latinos and other racial/ethnic minorities. His seminal demographic work for redistricting produced the 1990 redistricting changes for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that led to the election of the first Latina to the Board of Supervisors. He provided primary evidence for the leading advocacy organizations on voting rights such as NALEO, Advancement Project, and MALDEF. As an entrepreneur, Leo participated as a partner or research leader in several research and consulting companies. Leo served on the boards of numerous organizations and corporations including AARP, SCAN Health Plan Group, Broadway Stores, National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, Hispanics in Philanthropy, The California Endowment (as a founding member), Santa Marta Hospital, among many others. He also served on dozens of advisory boards. Over the long term, Leo's most significant legacy will be his untiring commitment and numerous contributions to community empowerment and social justice. For example, in 1991, he was appointed by Mayor Tom Bradley to the Christopher Commission that assessed police-community relations following the Rodney King beating. His tireless and insightful work on the Commission contributed to new approaches to community policing that have spread throughout the nation. Through direct and indirect efforts and time, Leo supported numerous organizations in Los Angeles and beyond, especially those dedicated to improving the lives of the underrepresented. He was a passionate force committed to helping women gain financial stability as exemplified by his two-decade service on the Board of New Economics for Women. He fully exemplified the importance and value of community service to his colleagues, the urban planning field and UCLA, the institution he loved, appreciated, and transformed. But, above all, Leo treasured and loved his family. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, and uncle. He is survived by his beloved wife of 36 years, Ivelisse; their two sons Andres and Ricardo; and their much-loved grandson, Ezana. He also leaves behind a son, Adam; his sisters, Priscilla, Irma and Omega; and a large extended family throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. A private family service is planned, followed in early 2019 by a public memorial event at UCLA, date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, Leo's family requests making donations to the Leobardo Estrada Fellowship Fund of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

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Published in Los Angeles Times from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
July 31, 2020
Adriana Manjarrez
Student
February 8, 2019
Culiacán, UAS, 1999
En los dos primeros exámenes de maestría en Estudios de Estados Unidos y Canadá en 1999, Leo Estrada fue parte del jurado de las tesis de Miriam nava y Blas Valenzuela. Aquí en Culiacán, con alumnos y maestros.
Guillermo Ibarra
February 8, 2019
Guillermo Ibarra
February 8, 2019
Mis condolencias a Leo Estrada, gran amigo de la comunidad académica de la Facultad de Estudios Intencionales y Políticas Públicas de la UAS.
Guillermo Ibarra
November 29, 2018
I am saddened to hear about the passing of an old friend and colleague, and share my own mixed feelings of regret at not having seen him for many decades and the joy of having worked with him during some crucial years at the U.S. Census Bureau in preparing for and promoting the 1980 Census. His work there was seminal in making the 1980 Census particularly meaningful for decades since. As a member of the 1980 Census Promotion Office, I pushed for a translator to help with Spanish language materials, and ended up hiring Ivelisse, his dear wife of 36 years; that gives me great happiness. Bless you, Ivelisse, for all the work you've done at Leo's side in behalf of our indigenous-hispanic community. Gran abrazos a ti y tu familia.
Armando Rendon
November 15, 2018
My condolences to the Estrada family. I am deeply saddened by the loss of this good man who has given so much to our world. In addition to his academic gifts I will always remember most his kindness.
Carlos Navarro
November 11, 2018
Lorena L.
November 10, 2018
Sincere condolences to the family, May you lean every morning on the arm of God as you cope with the dear loss in your life - Isaiah 33:2
BRY
November 10, 2018
Farewell Dearest Leo - my friend and former UCLA advisor many years ago. The people who leave the deepest most lasting impressions are those who care about and look out for us. I am grateful and deeply touched that Leo cared about and looked out for me . Today I light a candle for Leo as I channel his spirit. I send condolences, love and healing thoughts to Leo's family. Con Carino.
Maureen Silverman
November 10, 2018
Our hearts are heavy but we take comfort in the fact that Leo's legacy will live on through his family, friends, proteges, and colleagues. Leo was a star who encouraged and supported others to develop their talents in the service of the public good. Angela and I were touched by Leo's generosity of spirit and support in our academic and professional careers. Rest well my friend; it's time for us to continue your legacy.

Emmanuel & Angela Moreno-Ramirez
Emmanuel & Angela Moreno-Ramirez
November 9, 2018
Leo was a tireless champion for the rights of others, a generous leader and change agent on many significant stages, and a fellow board member from whom I learned so much. He will be missed. My warmest condolences to his family and friends. Diane
DIANE PRATT
November 8, 2018
We send our sincere condolences to the Estrada Family. May the God of tender mercies and comfort be with you. We're so sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one.
Marie
November 8, 2018
Leo was a great friend and true scholar. While serving on the AARP Board of Directors, Leo and I worked tirelessly on issues relevant to diversity as well as our Hispanic community. I respected his vast experience and always valued his sage advice. Leo was a gentle man, who tackled our community issues with his tremendous intellect and common sense. He was loved and admired by his friends, students and colleagues. I will miss him greatly. Jake Lozada
Jake Lozada
November 7, 2018
While serving on the AARP Board my wife Hemu and I spent many memorable evenings together with Leo and his wife Ivelisse. He was a good person and will be sorely missed.
Yash Aggarwal
Yash Aggarwal
November 7, 2018
I am so very fortunate to have worked closely with Leo during his tenure on the Board of AARP. His sterling leadership and personality made an enormous difference in AARP's ability to drive their mission. My deepest condolences. Dr. N. Joyce Payne
N. Joyce Payne
November 7, 2018
Maureen Silverman
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