Mario J. Aranda Sr.
Mario J. Aranda, Sr.
July 14, 1941 - August 26, 2020
Mario Jaime Aranda, Sr., 79, passed away Wednesday, August 26, 2020 at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco from COVID-19. He is deeply missed.

Mario was a vibrant, loving, spiritual man who most found to be extraordinarily kind, perceptive, intelligent, soulful, generous and playful, with a lively sense of humor and a gift for dynamic storytelling. In his work, he was a powerful spokesperson, negotiator and friend-maker across cultural and racial divides, and a passionate advocate for the rights of immigrants.

Born in the mountains of Bella Vista, Chihuahua, Mexico on July 14, 1941 and raised in Colonia Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, Mario immigrated to the United States in the late 1950s and subsequently graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Sociology. He was married to his wife Dana Rosado for nearly thirty years and partnered with his husband Greg Hinson for the past twenty.

During the mid-1970s, Mario and Dana moved their growing family to Chicago, where he administered multilingual programs for the Chicago Public Schools and became a director in the Department of Education for the Illinois Office of Education. He was known to legislators and policymakers as a persistent and relentless advocate for bilingual education, serving children who collectively spoke more than a hundred languages beyond English. On a state level and for the City of Chicago, his work reduced dropout rates and laid the foundation for further significant improvement of public education for decades to come, directly impacting an entire generation of Chicagoans.

In the late 1970s, he became Executive Director of the Latino Institute, which fought against discriminatory practices and unfair wages for workers through public policy research and civic engagement. His leadership there united previously disparate factions of Latinos, creating a powerful political bloc that advocated for their collective needs. In his calls for unity, Mario was quoted saying "Hispanics have tended to be socialized to believe we have to wait in line, the pie is small, and if it's divided we have to fight among ourselves. Our greatest enemy is ignorance about ourselves." He was frequently outspoken in the press, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and others in articles most often related to philanthropic organizations and their lack of responsiveness to the Hispanic community.

Mario was particularly honored to advise President Jimmy Carter in 1979 during the President's SALT II negotiations with Leonid Brezhnev. During the 1980s, he was under consideration by Chicago Mayor Harold Washington to serve as Deputy Mayor, but declined in order to maintain a level of safety for his family. He continued to advise Washington until the Mayor's untimely death in 1987.

In 1993, he became the founding President and Publisher of Exito newspaper for the Tribune Corporation in Chicago. Exito would go on to become the largest Spanish-language periodical in the United States.

Mario was named Illinois Citizen of the Year and served on such diverse councils as the MacArthur Foundation, the national board of the Children's Television Workshop, MALDEF, the Illinois Council on Employment and Training, the Chicago Civic Coalition of the Chicago Bar Association, DePaul University's Board of Trustees, and many others.

In 1998, Mario moved to Northern California's Bay Area where he would meet his eventual husband Greg Hinson, founder of O Olive Oil, a premier producer of California specialty olive oils and vinegars. Together Greg and Mario grew the business for nearly 20 years, eventually selling it to Landec Corporation in 2017. At the time of its acquisition, O Olive Oil had won more Specialty Food Association awards than any other olive oil or vinegar company in the world.

In his recent retirement Mario continued his study of philosophy and religion, as well as anti-Chinese sentiment during the Mexican Revolution (the latter being a key component of his ancestral history). He continued to advocate for migrant workers at the individual level, often engaging with and encouraging those he met in passing within his community.

Mario Aranda is survived by his husband Greg Hinson of San Rafael, CA and former wife Dana (Rosado) Campbell of La Costa, CA; children Mario Aranda II, (Paul Fagen), Xiomara Sanchez (Victor Sanchez), Julian Aranda, Ximen Christiansen (Chad Christiansen), Xan Aranda, Jacob Aranda, Joseph Aranda, Kai Hinson (Bryan Connolly), and Xena Hinson; grandchildren Wyldon Sanchez, Xochitl Sanchez, Ezra Christiansen, August Christiansen, Aria Christiansen, and Zay Christiansen; sisters Gloria Lewis, Lili Davis (Dean Davis), and Teresa Aranda; cousin Xedex Olivas; nieces and nephews Curtis Weidner, Lisa Bonner, Kirsten Worden (Dan Worden), Sunshine Barrett (Jason Barrett), Darby Davis, Ben Davis (Heather Davis), Circle Pasto (Nick Pasto), Ethan Davis (Nathalie Davis), Chandler Davis (Jamie Lee Davis), Mikkel Davis (Larissa Davis), Shiloh Davis, Enoch Davis (Laís Davis), Jameson Aranda and Seraph Aranda.

Mario was preceded in death by his parents, Angela (Carrasco) Ivey and Salomón Aranda.

Members of Mario's immediate family celebrated his life in a private gathering, strictly observing all pandemic precautions, in San Rafael, California the weekend following his passing.

Donations in Mario Aranda's name may be made to two organizations close to the family's heart: People With Disabilities Succeeding and Halleck Creek Ranch.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 21 to Sep. 22, 2020.
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14 Entries
I was saddened to learn recently of Mario's passing. My husband, Chuck, and I were missionaries in the West Mexican mission when we first met Mario. We connected after our missions at BYU. Chuck baptized the first six members of the church in Mazatlan in 1962. Mario painted a picture of Mazatlan as wedding gift to us and when he delivered it, the foam on the ocean waves was still wet. That beloved painting has been hanging in our home for 56 years and will always be a part of our family.
We were so grateful and blessed to know Mario and send our condolences to his family.
Love, Renee Sullivan
Renee Sullivan
December 13, 2020
Mario and I served as Co-chairs of our Pastor Relations Committee at New Spirit Community Church. It was an honor to work with him and get to know him. I wasn't at the time aware of all his previous accomplishments in education and diplomacy, because he was a humble man. Still he exuded the gravitas of someone who knew what he was doing, and was always considering how to bring out the best in everyone around him. He will live on in the hearts and minds of people who had the luck to get to know him. I am deeply sorry for the loss to his family and nearest and dearest.
Sandra Meucci
November 15, 2020
Jonathan Friedman
October 5, 2020
I read Mario’s obituary to my two sons, John and Aaron, and we talked about the powerful presence Mario was in our family. Being best man at our wedding. Being my confidant and very close friend for decades. Being the person I could talk with for hours—sharing our rantings, our fears, our joys, sharing our physical and spiritual journeys, our hopes and beliefs in that mystical, mysterious place we call “heaven” and our intentions to continue the conversation and the celebration once we both are there. Whenever comes my time to go, I believe that Mario will be on my reception committee. Love and blessings always to Mario and to his dear children and grandchildren.

Carol Lynn Pearson
October 1, 2020
Mario touched my heart. He was warm and loving and I will always remember him. He was on my Intern Teaching Parish Committee at New Spirit Community Church in Berkeley, CA, and he brought so much love and warmth to our gatherings. I remember his hugs, his kindness, and his laughter, and his sincerity. Such a beautiful man. We were blessed to have him with us.
Kit Lockwood
September 25, 2020
I am deeply sad to hear that Mario Aranda passed away due to COVID-19. He was a great inspiration to me as a young Latina activist. In fact I became an educator partly because of him. Your legacy and inspiration will live on. My deepest condolences to the Aranda family.
Gladys M Sotomayor
September 25, 2020
Ximen, I am sorry to hear about your loss. Your Father sounds like a very accomplished and loved man. What a legacy he has. I think I remember meeting him at your wedding. Prayers for peace and love as you grieve this great man. He will always live on in your heart...
Eileen Barlage
September 23, 2020
He was my brother I never had and mentor in Chicago. He helped me to know our Savior.
Jack Castle
September 23, 2020
What a power house! Rest in Power!
John Mathie
September 22, 2020
A man for all seasons.
September 22, 2020
I only knew Mario as the Patriach (my Patriarch). When he officiated my blessing, that was the first and only time I had any interaction with him. Regardless of that short period, he had a tremendous affect on me, his kindness and genuineness are attributes that I still remember today. I have a great amount of respect and reverence for him. God bless him and his family!!
Noel Cajigas
September 22, 2020
Xan Aranda
September 22, 2020
Xan Aranda
September 22, 2020
A fitting tribute to a complex and wonderful man. May his memory be an inspiration and comfort to us all.
Terence Kissack
September 22, 2020
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