A long-standing member of the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Friends of the Educational Opportunity Program (FEOP) Advisory Board, Ernest (Ernie) Aguilar passed away with his family at his side, Monday, March 15, 2010. He was 90.
Aguilar served 20 years in the U.S. Army and was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Also a former Deputy Sheriff of Thurston County, Aguilar was known for his time and efforts dedicated to developing programs that not only benefitted Latinos, but all Washingtonians. He was honored by the Washington state House of Representatives in 1999 and again in 2009 with House Resolutions “recognizing his unique and courageous vision, tireless public service and legacy of accomplishments on behalf of Hispanics and all citizens of the State of Washington.”
Among his many achievements, Aguilar was instrumental in the creation of the Washington State Commission of Hispanic Affairs and was a member of its first governing board. He was also the founder and chairman Emeritus of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Aguilar was the first Mexican-American to run for County Office in Washington State and is a former representative of the Washington State Board Against Discrimination. He was also the initiator and founder of the Catholic Hispanic Ministry within Catholic Charities and founding member and first chair on the board of the Farm Workers’ Health Clinic in Toppenish, Wash.
Awarded the Ohtli Medal for Mexico’s highest civilian honor, Aguilar was instrumental in the establishment of Centro Mexicano, an organization that promotes trade and educational exchange between Mexico and Washington State.
In addition to his service on the UW’s FEOP Advisory Board, Aguilar also inspired the first-ever endowed Latino Scholarship at the UW Michael G. Foster School of Business.
Aguilar is survived by his wife Clementina (Tina) Aguilar (Delgado); children Kenny, Alan, Paul, Gloria McGriff and Ernest (Nachito); grandchildren Maria Aguilar, Shana Konschuh, Darci and Alan Aguilar; and great-grandchildren Anthony and Alexander Konschuh. He was preceded in death by his son Michael.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Ernest I.J. Aguilar Scholarship Fund, Foster School of Business, University of Washington, P.O. Box 3532000, Seattle, WA, 98195-3200.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Andrews Church in Sumner, Washington. Visitation and memorial service information will be posted at www.MeM.com.