SALT LAKE CITY — Longtime civil rights activist Robert "Archie" Archuleta, 88, died Friday.
Archuleta was outspoken on local issues pertaining to homelessness, Latino and other minorities, as well as women.
“We offer our condolences to the family of Archie Archuleta, a man who fully embraced his civic responsibilities and championed the well-being of our Latino communities," Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted on Saturday.
"Archie was the voice for the Utah Latino community,” said Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City. "We are who we are today because of him. We hope to honor his legacy by continuing to advocate on behalf of marginalized communities."
Utah's House and Senate Democrats remembered him "as a dedicated community servant. Archie embraced many roles as an educator, mentor and champion for civil liberties and peace."
"Utah’s Latino community has lost a titan, a champion and advocate for so many issues and causes," said Richard Jaramillo, president of the Coalition of La Raza. Archuleta served as president of the local Latino advocacy group for nine years. "Archie helped shape the Latino community, the nature of local activism, and made so many personal connections across the state that his impact has been truly profound."
Archuleta, who served as the city's administrative assistant for minority and community affairs in 2000, was presented with a Key to the City award by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski in October.
"Wherever Archie went, his smile would light up a room and behind that smile, was the mind and soul of a fierce advocate for equality," the mayor said Saturday. "I will miss his smile, his hugs and his quiet words of encouragement which brought me comfort and strength."
Archuleta first moved to Salt Lake City in 1953 and taught at a local elementary school on the city's west side. He eventually became a principal.
Salt Lake City School District Superintendent Lexi Cunningham called Archuleta "legendary" and said he was "a role model for us all."
"Even in his final years, he always sought to leave Salt Lake City and the state of Utah a better place for the marginalized and for those who would come after him," she said.3 comments on this story
Archuleta is survived by his wife, Lois, and five children.
In addition to his work at the mayor's office and the Utah Coalition of La Raza, Archuleta also served many leadership positions with various community organizations and was chairman of the Salt Lake County Democratic Caucus.
Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, on Saturday tweeted condolences for the family and all who knew Archuleta, saying, "Archie worked every day to ensure minority voices are heard. He made a lasting mark and will be missed."
This article will be updated.