José Israel Ornelas passes away at age 47
Portland, OR — With his strong bear hug, dazzling smile, and zest for life, José Israel Ornelas could immediately fill up a room with love and laughter. Ornelas passed away June 19, 2011.
He met his partner of 18 years, Al Mungia, in Ornelas’ hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. The two moved to San Diego shortly thereafter and later relocated to Portland, where Ornelas left his mark in the hearts of everyone he encountered.
Ornelas lived his life to the fullest, enjoying time with family and friends, and never forgetting to tell people how much he loved them. This was the gift he brought to everything he did. It reminded people of what matters most and to enjoy their time together.
In 2006, he became a founding member of Portland Latino Gay Pride (PLGP). Sharing stories of past experiences, Ornelas brought up “mariposa/butterfly” as a term he had been called. The “mariposa” is often used in Spanish as a negative reference to someone gay. PLGP decided to transform this to a positive and empowering image. It became the official symbol of the organization, thanks to Ornelas.
His continued involvement with PLGP was critical to the growth and success of each celebration. He reminded the planning committee of the need to reach out to all segments of the community, to entertain, and of the positive difference PLGP was making in the community.
Beyond his contributions to Portland Latino Gay Pride, Ornelas is best remembered for the love and joy he brought to the people in his life. He was a dedicated partner to Al Munguia. He was so proud of his family and relatives in Guadalajara, Mexico. His strong and loyal friendships comforted and supported many.
Ornelas’ smile always reminded us of what matters most in life and to enjoy every moment we as a community have together.
José Israel Ornelas was laid to rest last month in Guadalajara, alongside his grandmother and cousin, two important people in his life. A communal celebration of his life was held July 1 at the Jupiter Hotel.
Este artículo también está disponible en / This post is also available in: Spanish
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