San Jose Mercury News: East San Jose’s Montes de Oca Advocated for Latino Youth, Community

Posted by the San Jose Mercury News Feb. 2, 2015.

By Bruce Newman

SAN JOSE — When his son was born 40 years ago, Jose Montes de Oca was running a magazine that covered the Chicano movement at San Jose State University — a movement Montes de Oca had been breathing life into since he arrived on campus.

“There were not that many Chicanos at San Jose State at that time,” recalled Montes de Oca’s longtime friend, Macario Ortiz, “so when you saw a brown face it was a good thing.”

There also weren’t that many single dads in those days, and fewer still who were doggedly attempting to raise a child in a 3-bedroom apartment, where he was living with five college roommates — including Ortiz.

“He was the first single parent that I ever met,” said Ortiz. “Jose was always taking that baby to meetings, going everyplace with his son.”

The six young Latino bachelors who raised Jose Junior called themselves “the Roommates,” and were planning to watch the Super Bowl together Sunday, until word came last week that Montes de Oca had died on Jan. 28, at age 61, from complications of liver cancer. Last June, he revealed his grim diagnosis to a wide network of family and friends on Facebook.

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