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Latins United co-founder passes away

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa


Oct. 20, 2012: 88-year old Charlie Weaver was remembered at a funeral mass Saturday morning as a quiet icon within Toledo’s Latino community, as leaders urged his legacy to live on in the hearts, minds, and hard work of those who knew him.

Weaver died Oct. 18th at Heartland of Oregon from congestive heart failure. But the strong heart of a loving man was uppermost in the minds of those he left behind. He was preceded in death in 2009 by Lucy, his wife of 57 years. Those who eulogized Weaver mentioned them as an inseparable couple.


“Lucy and Charlie were people who were the heroes behind the scenes who helped us to see a vision we didn’t even see in ourselves,” said Lucas County Auditor Anita López, as she choked back tears. “Many of us, myself included, we would not be where we are without them to lift us up.”


“They could see in us as Latinos— in each of us— what was great in us and our potential in what we could do and they worked tirelessly to make sure that would happen,” echoed former Toledo City Council President Louis Escobar, who also admonished the 150-plus people in attendance to carry on the couple’s legacy. “The challenge now for each one of us: don’t let that go away. They did that for each and every one of us and now we have to do it for each other. Don’t let what they’ve done burn out.”


While tears flowed freely at the funeral mass, people preferred to celebrate Weaver’s life and accomplishments in their comments. Escobar even joked that he was probably at a political rally in heaven at that moment, trying to convince angels and spirits who they should vote for as president in the upcoming election.


“His body has died, but Lucy and Charlie’s spirit lives to this day and on into the future,” Escobar said. “We give thanks and praise for Charlie.”


Former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner attended the funeral mass, along with several Latino leaders, including Lucas County Job and Family Services director Deb Ortiz-Flores and Lucas County Land Bank director Cindy Geronimo.


Weaver also is credited as a co-founder of Latinos United/Latinos Unidos in the late 1960s. He served   more than 15 years as the nonprofit social organization’s president. Weaver helped to open the club’s current building in 1960 on St. Clair St. next to the church he attended his entire adult life, Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic parish. The Weavers helped others to fix up the building and create a social hall attached to it.


Ms. Geronimo recalled always attending Christmas, Easter, and other holiday parties at Latins United/Latinos Unidos as a little girl. Her parents were actively involved alongside Weaver there.


“It really meant a lot for the Hispanic community to have someplace where they all gathered together, share their stories,” she said. “Charlie was the heart of that. I think Charlie will always be missed and fondly remembered and continue to be an inspiration for our community.”


Ms. Geronimo credited Weaver for encouraging all Latinos that the social club was a place for the community, for families. She recalled a conversation earlier this month with him about her job rebuilding the community and how she could help East Toledo, the place he called home most of his adult life. 


“Charlie was always an inspiration, such a servant to the community,” she said. “He always just gave tirelessly in his efforts to the Latino club, the church, and was always involved in the festival. He’s always been such an important part of this community.”


Ms. Geronimo served as co-chair of the parish festival for the past five years and described Weaver “as always there, ready to help.” Weaver first moved to Toledo at age 23, joining his father and other relatives in a trek north in search of jobs.


Connie Treviño Eason grew up in the same ranchero region of Texas as Weaver (Brownsville) and acknowledged they may be distant relatives. The pair didn’t meet until after each of them independently moved to Toledo. But they knew each other for more than three decades.


“He had a big heart, that’s for sure,” she said. “He had a good heart, soft heart, loving and fair. He loved the community and he wanted it to grow and anything he could do to help the Latino community to do better—not just for themselves or their family, but as a whole community.”


Ms. Eason provided a brief history lesson so the community would understand better how someone named Weaver could be of Latino descent. His great-great-great grandfather was a soldier sent to colonize the Southwest, what we now know as Texas before it was purchased by the U.S. He met and married a Latina, so all the Weavers from a region that stretches from Brownsville to San Benito are of Mexican heritage.


“I always thought Weaver was a Mexican name until I came up here,” she said with a grin.


Ms. Eason explained that Weaver and others fashioned Latins United from a similar club that had formed around the same time in Wauseon, but folded shortly thereafter. The Toledo club even borrowed the name.


“I recall him talking about the debate over whether it should be a social organization or a civil rights organization,” she said. “He just always felt it should be a social organization that should do good deeds for the community, for the younger generations. I really feel he had a vision and stuck to it, even though he met with some resistance.”


Latins United still is well-known for providing Thanksgiving baskets to Latino and other families in need and other annual projects.


“They put it together out of their own pockets,” said Ms. Eason. “It was nothing for Lucy and Charlie to go buy twelve more turkeys and say ‘We’ve got these many more’ or go get more potatoes or cases of canned goods.”


It was that type of quiet, behind-the-scenes benevolence that struck Ms. Eason the most about Weaver and his wife over the years.


“It’s not about letting the world know. You don’t do good things to let the world know. You do it quietly and you’re in everybody’s heart that you touched,” she said. “That’s what it was about (for Charlie). I’m going to miss him so much. There are special people that God puts on earth to touch our hearts and teach us.”



Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/23/12 18:22:41 -0700.




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