Our Friend, Armando

President Jimmy Carter shakes Armando Rodriguez’s hand after a swearing-in ceremony in 1978. (AP file photo)

Armando M. Rodriguez
September 20, 1921 – February 17th, 2019

Dear Democrats for Equality,

I often think of our club as an extended family. The history that so many members have together, the relationships built in times of struggle and times of triumph run deep. That is why days like today are particularly difficult. It is my sad duty to report that our friend and longtime club member, Armando M. Rodriguez, passed away last Sunday.

Born in Gomez Palacio, Mexico, Rodriguez came to San Diego with his family in 1927. He joined the U.S. Army during World War II, became a U.S. citizen, and eventually graduated from San Diego State University with a master’s degree in special education.

Armando Rodriguez worked as a teacher, school administrator, and became the first Latino principal at San Diego Unified. Although he had a wonderfully successful career in education, politics was also Armando’s passion.

He helped run the “Viva Kennedy” campaign in the 1960 Presidential Election, and ran for State Assembly in 1962. After organizing a walkout protest against racial bias with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to lead the Office of Spanish-Speaking American Affairs in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

In 1978, Rodriguez had the honor of being named head of EEOC by President Jimmy Carter.

Our club’s mantra of “Our Members Make History” certainly rings true for Armando Rodriguez. He made history, and helped pave the way forward for so many others.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 5th at 11:00am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 1170 Kearny Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113. Rosary preceding at 10:00am.

This weekend, I hope you will join me in keeping his friends and family in your thoughts as we remember our friend, Armando.

May he rest in power.


Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality