Carlos Leal

Carlos Leal

Carlos Leal Jr, 84, of Greeley, Colorado, passed away at home surrounded by family, on May 28th, after a long battle with cancer. Carlos was born March 13, 1936 in Julesburg, Colorado to Carlos Leal, Sr. and Carmen (Mendoza) Leal. Carlos grew up on the northeastern plains of Colorado, in Julesburg, where he attended high school, later completing his GED. Carlos married his high school sweetheart, Alice (Alicia) Aguayo, in Lakewood, Colorado on December 30, 1955. Very shortly after marrying, Carlos joined the United States Army, where he served from 1955-1958 as a paratrooper out of the 11th Airborne Division. He was first stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which preceded his military assignments oversees, where he worked on behalf of the United States as part of a Cold War peacekeeping force, patrolling shared borders in Germany. After receiving an honorable discharge from the Army, Carlos returned home, where he successfully utilized his G.I. Bill to complete degrees. First at Northeastern Junior College, (where he was later celebrated as an honored alumnus), and later at the University of Northern Colorado, (UNC). While at UNC, Carlos completed additional degrees, including a Master’s Degree and later a Specialist of Education, Ed.S. in higher education. In completing his Master’s degree thesis, Carlos successfully established not only UNC’s first Mexican-American Studies program major, but one of the first such majors in any college/university in the state of Colorado. Prior to his career in higher education at UNC, Carlos served as the Area Director of the Colorado Migrant Council. He subsequently joined the University of Northern Colorado community first working in student affairs, where he, together with colleagues, opened UNC’s Center for Human Enrichment, (CHE). Working as the then Assistant Dean of Students, Carlos supported not only the CHE, but also worked in support of first-generation college students, supporting some of UNC’s first TRIO programs, such as Upward Bound. Later, he served as an assistant professor of Mexican-American Studies, and taught within UNC’s College of Education, teaching history/philosophy/foundations courses, inclusive of Spanish and other classes in Bilingual Education. He also served intermittent appointments as UNC’s Chair of the Hispanic Studies Department, as well as serving on UNC’s Faculty Senate. He instituted student exchange programs on behalf of UNC and the Department of Hispanic Studies. Over the course of several years, Carlos served as both sponsor and professor for UNC students studying in Cuernavaca, San Miguel de Allende and Morelia, Mexico. In one of his final contributions to the UNC community, Carlos and other K-12 and post-secondary educators conceived of, created and implemented UNC’s CUMBRES program – a program for Latinx students pursuing teaching in support of low-income, diverse K-12 student populations. Carlos retired from UNC in 1998, receiving Emeritus status. Later, in 2001, Carlos was recognized as an honored alumnus of UNC. In addition to his career in higher education, Carlos believed in the importance of civic engagement and political activism. He ran for public office and served both on the Greeley/Evans School District #6 Board of Education, including a term as the board president. Carlos also served one term on Greeley’s City Council, representing Ward I. He was a founding member of the Sunrise Community Health Center and served as a member of the United States Civil Rights Commission. After retirement, he turned his love of learning and the law into a certificate as a paralegal. This additional formal training enabled him to work alongside his son, Carlos Leal III, who was an attorney. In addition to his paralegal work, post-retirement Carlos had many other hobbies. He enjoyed woodworking in his own woodshop. He also enjoyed reading and watching history programs. He was a frequent editorial contributor for the Greeley Tribune, enjoying many years of writing and submitting pieces close to his heart and deeply reflective of his personal convictions. He was a life-long fan of football, early in his education career serving as a head football coach and later providing support to various sports teams at UNC. Carlos was also an avid fan and season ticket holder of the Denver Broncos. In 2008 he married Erendira Sepulveda, and received her children as his own. Erendira and Carlos enjoyed 12 years of marriage, during which time they traveled to Mexico, while sharing a love of reading, writing and work in education. This collaborative partnership resulted in consulting work at the Universidad Latina de America, in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, where he co-founded conferences on immigration, the Bracero Program and the Mexican-American Studies major/program. Preceding Carlos in death were his parents (Carlos Leal Sr. and Carmen Mendoza Leal), three siblings (Velia, Les, and Don), his first wife Alicia Carolyn Aguayo, and his son Carlos Leal III. He is survived by his wife Erendira Leal, his daughters Valerie (Bill), Vivian, Vicki (Saul), eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren; and his wife’s daughters, Soraya, Erendira (Ricardo), Berenice (Alejandro), and five grandchildren. A viewing will be held at Adamson Life Celebration Funeral Home in Greeley on Friday June 5, 2020 from 2 – 6 PM. Adherence to current COVID 19 protocols will be strictly enforced, please wear a mask. Donations may be made to the UNC Foundation in the name of the Carlos and Alice (Aguayo) Leal Education Scholarship.
March 13, 1936 - May 28, 202003/13/193605/28/2020
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Obituary

Carlos Leal Jr, 84, of Greeley, Colorado, passed away at home surrounded by family, on May 28th, after a long battle with cancer. Carlos was born March 13, 1936 in Julesburg, Colorado to Carlos Leal, Sr. and Carmen (Mendoza) Leal. Carlos grew up on the northeastern plains of Colorado, in Julesburg, where he attended high school, later completing his GED. Carlos married his high school sweetheart, Alice (Alicia) Aguayo, in Lakewood, Colorado on December 30, 1955. Very shortly after marry...

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