Frederic A. Cordova, 82, passed peacefully on December 21, 2013. Born June 3, 1931, in Selma CA to Margarita Pilar and Geraldo Umali, Fred considered Stockton, California, his hometown although as a child he lived in numerous California farm areas because his adoptive parents Leoncio and Lucia Cordova contracted migrant farm laborers. In 1948, he moved to Seattle to attend Seattle University. After graduation Fred was a copy boy/reporter/editorial secretary at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and sports editor at the Catholic Northwest Progress. In 1966, he became Director of Public Information at Seattle University and in 1974 Manager of News and Information at the University of Washington until he retired in 2000.
In 1957, Fred co-founded the Filipino Youth Activities (FYA) of Seattle and created the award-winning FYA Drill Team in 1959. In 1982, he was founding president of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) creating its National Pinoy Archives. For over 50 years, he reached out to and mentored thousands of young people. During the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, Fred was an outspoken advocate for economic justice, racial equality, and ethnic identity. He was the weekly commentator on issues important to communities of color for KYAC-FM Radio’s “Dark Voices” series.
For 12 years, he was an affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington teaching Filipino American history and culture. In 1998, Fred received an honorary doctorate from Seattle University for lifetime achievements in research, writing and promoting Filipino American history and community work. He started the national effort to make October Filipino American History Month and was the author of Filipinos: Forgotten Asian Americans.
A devout Catholic, Fred served the Immaculate Conception parish for 50 years. In 2003, he was ordained Deacon of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Despite failing health, he created the San Pedro Colungsod Guild and led efforts to propose a national shrine at Immaculate Conception for the Filipino saint.
Fred was a devoted husband, proud of his family, committed to the community. Survived by Dorothy, loving wife of 60 years; eight children Anthony, Damian (Judy), Timoteo, Cecilia (Jay), Margarita, Dominic, Dion and Bibiana (Alfonzo); 17 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by sisters Feling, Catherine, Pauline and brother Sam. Survived by brothers Don Bilar, Phil Ventura and Ernie Balucas and a large extended family.
- Viewing at Bonney-Watson, 1732 Broadway, Thursday, January 9, 2014 – 1 to 8 pm and Friday noon to 4 pm.
- Rosary and Vigil Service at Immaculate Conception Church Friday, January 10, at 7 pm.
- Funeral Mass Saturday January 11, 2014 at Immaculate Conception Church 10:00 am.
- Interment at Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to FANHS 810 18TH Ave. or Immaculate Conception Church – 820 18th Ave. – both Seattle, WA 98122.
An earlier version of this obituary was published in The Seattle Times on Sunday, January 5, 2014.