Medardo (Leonardo) Delgado | Herald of the Columbia Basin


June 8, 1933 — June 28, 2022

Medardo (Leonard) Delgado was born to Carmen and Frank Delgado, who were the first settlers of Royal Slope where the family cleared the land and established their farm. He died on June 28, 2022 after a long illness.

Medardo was born in Kansas City, Kansas, the second of 13 children. As a child, he worked in the fields with his parents and lived in “the colony” in Mitchell, Nebraska, with other migrant workers until his father decided to become a farmer. The family left the colony and began working in smallholdings in Wyoming and Nebraska Eventually, after hearing about the land grants in central Washington, Medardo and his father traveled to Washington State where they got their farm on Royal Slope and moved in with the family.

Medardo’s mother emphasized the education of all her children. After completing studies for a certification in diesel mechanics and an associate’s degree from Seattle Community College, he eventually earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Central Washington University, with a major in Spanish and a minor in sociology. His field was secondary education. While at the CWU, he realized there was a need for classes geared toward Chicanos and the educational issues they face. He was asked to conduct a feasibility study of Chicano degree programs at other colleges. As a result, he laid out a plan for a Chicano studies program at the CWU that included courses in Chicano literature and Chicano-related courses in music, anthropology, and sociology.

Throughout his life, he worked hard to help people from all walks of life understand cultural diversity, saying, “Cultural diversity is not a mixture of people but a variety of individuals, each belonging to a specific group with which they share distinct cultural traits. Understanding each other’s culture is essential if we are to continue to complement and contribute to each other. Medardo carried this philosophy with him wherever he went, including to work. Retired from the Department of Labor and Industries, he volunteered for many years with the Whatcom County Youth Group and the Hispanic Whatcom Organization to promote acceptance and understanding between cultures.

Medardo is survived by his wife Kathleen Russell Delgado; children Andres (Misty), Gabril, Brigetta Emmel (Chris) and Amy Edelen; brother Frank (Sherry); sisters Sister Francesca, Mary Hesting (Bob), Lola Monroe (Richard), Lydia Mullineaux and Sally Petree (Jack); sisters-in-law Linda and Selmaann; grandchildren Austin, Zachary and Samantha; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers Joe, Pete and Simon; sister Frances Shipe; sister-in-law Elvita; and his brothers-in-law Mike Shipe and Rodney Mullineaux.

A funeral mass will be held for Medardo on July 22, 2022 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Moses Lake with prayer of the Rosary at 10 a.m. and Mass beginning at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be at Royal Memorial Cemetery Gardens in Royal City, Washington, immediately after mass.

The greatest gift we can give to the memory of Medardo is to pursue its vision of cultural diversity. As he said in a speech he once gave, “Take the time now to understand each other as a path to joy and knowledge. You will teach each other to sing your songs, to share your sorrows and to love what you like. You’ll communicate with each other what you’re doing and why you feel the way you feel. Then you can decide if you want to stay or just drop by. Either way, you’ll get more than you bought. You will have taken a step towards mutual understanding.”

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