Juan Marcoida, 1956 Man of the Year in El Excentrico Magazine 1956, passed away on 1/22/2021 at 95 years of age. His daughter's Anna Marcoida-Harshbarger, Christine Marcoida, another daughter and his son who worked at the NHU Charter High School are still serving the community so his legacy continues. See their Facebook pages for more pictures.
Our condolences to his family. EPD / RIP - En paz descanse / Rest In Peace.
He was an engineer who educated himself in schools in the Mexican Army, and then night school here and at San Jose State. With these skills, he went to work at the General Electric Plant when it opened in San Jose in 1947. He could have gone on and had a well-deserved middle class life.
Instead, headed for the Mayfair Barrio,Sal Si Puedes, and provided leadership with Father Donald McDonnell & Cesar Chavez and the dozens of energetic community people in the early years of the establishing a working Community Service Organization (CSO); he served two terms as CSO President.
His stories in four video interviews, tell us about how he and others worked to create the Raza community of today. They are living proof that the Mexican community here was 'NEVER A SLEEPING GIANT". He also said that giving everyone free help was good, but someone had to figure out how to pay the bills to grow and provide more help.
He worked on funding the CSO by working on young Cesar Chavez' idea to go to the north and bring Christmas trees to sell, selling tamales that ladies donated, out of the back of Father Mc Donnell's old station wagon, holding carnivals, collecting donations and clothes from ladies who sewed, to open a second-had store, and more. He hosted a radio program, CSO INFORME, for 10 years on KLOK and KSJO radio stations that people turned to; job, legal, police brutality, wife abuse, immigration, deportation, scams, and voter registration help.
Juan Marcoida CSO: Father Donald McDonnell & Cesar Chavez 1/4
Juan Marcoida Was There - in the Mayfair Barrio of East San Jose when Father Donald Mc Donnell came to his dream assignment: Parish priest of the recently established Guadalupe Catholic Mission in San Jose (mission meant a place where people could gather and a priest would hold mass, unofficial, no building, no furniture, no money). Cesar Chavez also lived in the neighborhood and Mr. Marcoida, Father Mc Donnell and Cesar Chavez later ran the Community Service Organization (CSO), the first modern civil rights group founded in 1952 San Jose. He remembers the early members of the CSO that can be found in history books: Leonard and Irma Ramirez ( Leonard was one of 4 students in the San Jose State College classroom that was visited by Fred Ross when he arrived in San Jose - Leonard Ramirez, Herman Gallegos and Alicia Hernandez, a public health nurse ). Miss Hernandez took Fred Ross to Sal Si Puedes barrio to visit a young couple she thought might be good to meet - Helen and Cesar Chavez. According to Herman Gallegos, the first official President of the San Jose CSO, " Alicia Hernandez was the first Interim President of the CSO. She did not like the spotlight; later she became a nurse in San Francisco. Her sister was also a nurse and involved here. Both have passed away". Mr. Marcoida talks about Leonard Ramirez who became a probation officer and helped open James Ranch Juvenile facility in Morgan Hill ( William F. James Boys Ranch) and how the community would take musicians and others to talk with the boys who were held there. He also talks about various ways that the CSO raised money; ladies would donate tamales to be sold; the tamales were delivered to the homes. Cesar Chavez knew a trucker who delivered loads to Northern California and Cesar got the guy to bring back a load of Christmas Trees. The CSO people found an empty lot to sell the trees and someone lent them a trailer where volunteers slept overnight to guard the trees. He talks about musicians who played for free at fundraising dances, raffles, a secondhand store, beauty contests when the young girls sold tickets to win, and getting beer, at-cost for the events.
See all 4 videos on You Tube: Juan Marcoida CSO: Father Donald McDonnell & Cesar Chavez 1/4 Juan Marcoida CSO:1952 CSO & Radio Program San Jose, CA 2/4 Juan Marcoida CSO: San Jose CSO President & Fundraiser 3/4 Juan Marcoida CSO: Family and Friends CSO San Jose 1950's 4/4