Congressman García’s Statement on the Passing of Raúl Montes Sr.
Chicago, IL - Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04) issued the following statement on the passing of community activist Raúl Montes Sr.:
“On January 23rd, my wife Evelyn and I lost a dear friend, and my neighborhood of Little Village lost a beloved community member: Raúl Montes Sr.
“Raúl and I shared many bonds rooted in our common stories of migration. Raúl was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, to Jose Montes Tapia and Estela Sifuentes Miranda, in a family of nine children. He was only 17 years old in 1965 when he traveled by train from Chihuahua to Chicago to join his father and several siblings.
“His family and his community were his life. Raúl met his wife María M. Gutierrez when he was barely 19 years old, and they both worked at the Western Electric Company. The couple was married in 1972 at Epiphany Church in Little Village. Like many newlyweds, they saved every penny to purchase their home on Kolin Avenue where they raised their sons Miguel, Raúl Jr., and Jose.
“Raúl created a block club in our neighborhood that worked to improve and beautify homes, backyards, and streets. They installed lamps in their front lawns, planted sod in parkways, and established block watches and activities for children and teens.
“This deep involvement in community life is why I appointed Raúl as a Democratic precinct captain of the 6th precinct when I was an alderman. He was the most effective and loved captain in the 22nd Ward, who knew how to persuade people to exercise their right to vote. His hard work helped me, and many others, win elected office early in my career.
“Later, as Ward Superintendent in the Department of Streets and Sanitation, he was frequently seen driving down streets and alleys conversing with neighbors and paying personal attention to their service requests.
“Raúl organized the best block parties in Little Village, with music and activities for all ages. He had a great voice and loved to sing and dance with his wife, María.
“Even in retirement, Raúl didn’t sit still. He and Maria enjoyed traveling, spending time with their children and grandchildren, and of course, having big parties. He also enjoyed helping at the corner grocery store or restaurant to stay busy and catch up on what was going on in the neighborhood, in Chicago politics, and in Mexico.
“His unexpected death from COVID-19 leaves a huge void and sadness for his family, friends, and those he helped over many years. Raúl will be remembered as a dedicated father, a caring neighbor, and a wonderful community member. Evelyn and I are keeping his family close to our heart during this painful time."