Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-08-15
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Community activist Elpidia Valles, mother of Center CEO, remembered
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-02-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Elpidia Casillas Gomez Valles—mother of Center on Halsted CEO Modesto Tico Valle—died peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 16. She was 78.

A pillar in the community, Valles was a machine operator/punch press operator for many years but spent most of her free time feeding and clothing people experiencing homelessness in Old Town—many of whom were living under the North Avenue bridge—as well as helping her two sons take care of their friends and boyfriends during the AIDS epidemic, all without the ability to read or write. ( She had a second-grade education. )

"She really stood for justice and equality for all people so it was fitting that her funeral was on the same day ( Jan. 20 ) as the Women's March on Chicago this year," said Valle. "When I came out and then my younger brother Danny came out during the height of the AIDS epidemic it was not a struggle for her to accept us and she also gave me permission to be out and proud. Seeing the discrimination, hatred and ugliness during the AIDS epidemic really opened my mom's eyes. When I took her to the first display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at Navy Pier it was so powerful for her. She never hid the fact that she had two gay sons.

"My mom even came to the hospital to visit our friends and boyfriends who were dying of AIDS when we needed a break. She did not want them to die alone. She was always known for her food, and brought it to the hospital so we would eat nutritional meals. My mom inspired me, my siblings and everyone around her to do good and that is what we did."

Valles was born Nov. 16, 1939 in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. When Valles was 15, she moved to the mainland in Ohio with her uncle to escape the cycle of poverty and oppression she faced as a young woman in Puerto Rico. At the time, girls on the island were maids, cooks and nannies and she wanted more for her life. She took care of her uncle's kids and the household, however, he encouraged her to advance in life.

She married Juan Valle on April 27, 1957 at St. Rose de Lima Church in Youngstown, Ohio and they moved to Chicago's Old Town neighborhood after a stint in Puerto Rico where Valle was born. Valles chose Old Town because 50 years ago, the area had the best schools and housing was affordable for low income families.

Following Valles' death, her name was added to the memorial window on the third floor at the Center. The memorial window glass etchings look out onto the rooftop garden and honor deceased individuals who made a difference in the community. Their legacy is noted with the years of their life, as well as their printed name and personal signature.

"My staff told me they wanted to honor my mom because she was such an important part of our community. Over the years, the Center's seniors, youth and staff always looked forward to her meals," said Tico Valle. "They surprised me by having her signature stenciled on the glass. It was very moving when they revealed it to me. The photo of me and my siblings next to the etching was one of the ways we came together to honor our mom."

In addition to Tico, Valles is survived by sons Juan and Danny, daughter Elpidia, brother Ignacio Casillas, sisters Ines and Ramona Torres, grandson Juan Jr., and great-grandchildren Carlos, Angel and Jaylynn. She was preceded in death by son Carlos, mother Celina Gomez, father Modesto Casillas, brothers Bartolo and Nimio and sister Lydia.

"My mom would always say, 'Where there is food for one, there is food for all. From one plate we all eat,' said Danny. "My mom was and always will be a believer."

"My mom loved everyone," said her daughter Elpi. "She would give the shirt off her back and the food off her plate to anyone. She also fought for the rights of people that were being treated inappropriately and would always remind us, 'Nunca juzgues a nadie' ( Never judge anyone )."

"When I had the enormous pleasure of meeting Mother Valle in 1988, at the now legendary and historic AIDS Memorial Quilt display at the old Navy Pier, I knew this was a woman of valor," said longtime community HIV/AIDS activist and Open Hand Chicago Founder ( now a division of the Heartland Health Outreach ) Lori Cannon. "She had such pride in Tico's success within the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community and was a hands on gal when it came to volunteering, cooking for those who were alone and hungry and always that wonderful laugh and beaming smile. She was one in a million. Tico was fortunate to have learned from the best. We all were."

After the funeral and burial, more than 200 family and friends gathered at Center on Halsted to celebrate her life.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Aretha Franklin dies at 76 2018-08-16 - Aretha Franklin— the long-reigning "Queen of Soul" who had countless hits ranging from "Respect" to "Freeway of Love" to "I Knew You Were ...


Gay News

Dedry Jones, remembered 2018-08-15 - More than 200 people gathered at DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side Aug. 8 for the memorial ceremony of ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Women's music leader Esther Anne Fuller dies 2018-08-15 - Esther Anne Fuller, 82, of Whitestown, Indiana, has died. She was a past president of Women In the Arts, a former National Women's ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Business owner Val Camilletti dies 2018-07-25 - Val's halla Records store owner Val Camilletti, 78, died July 24 at the British Home in Brookfield, Illinois of complications from breast cancer. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES James M. Schulze 2018-07-25 - James M. Schulze, a lifelong Chicago Heights resident, has passed away at 60. Jim was a member of the Bloom High School ...


Gay News

DignityUSA Mourns Death of Retired Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen 2018-07-24 - July 23, 2018. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion for LGBTQI people in our church and society, ...


Gay News

HRC Remembers Founding Board Member Jerry Weller 2018-07-15 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released the following statement on the passing of HRC founding board member Gerald ...


Gay News

PASSAGES '50s actor Tab Hunter dies at 86 2018-07-09 - Tab Hunter—who rose to movie stardom in the 1950s ( thanks to his surfer-by looks ) and who, in his later years, came ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Activist Arthur Gursch dies at 72 2018-07-04 - Longtime LGBTQ activist Arthur Gursch died June 22. He was 72. He was born on April 23, 1946. Art was an LGBTQ ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Nancy Wynne Crane dies 2018-06-28 - Nancy Wynne Crane, 74, born January 22, 1944. Nancy left us far too soon in the early morning hours of June 24th in ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.