PRDream mourns the passing of Otilio Diaz

Otilio Diaz

Founder and Director of

La Casa de la Herencia Puertorriquena

He was a faithful and committed leader of our community.

May he rest in peace.

Otilio Diaz
Photo courtesy of Marina Ortiz

Viewing Wednesday and Thursday, August 30 and 31, 3PM – 9PM

Julia de Burgos Cultural Center

1680 Lexington Avenue, Room 103
(between 105th and 106th Streets)

His body will be taken to Puerto Rico for burial. A local Memorial Service is planned.

5 thoughts on “PRDream mourns the passing of Otilio Diaz

  1. I saw him on many occasions, this modest man of humble means, rich in vision and hope for his people. It is hard to measure the loss to our community at the moment.

    So easy to forget. So easy to take for granted the men and women who were the warriors when things were really tough. When you were punished for speaking Spanish in school, or didn’t get hired because of your last name.

    So easy to forget and dishonor those men and women who committed themselves to making our lives and the lives of others better in this city.

    For me, don Otilio’s death marks the end of an era in El Barrio. And I’m not quite sure if we, the younger generations, are prepared to bear the weight of his legacy.

    I expect an homage to don Otilio at various Puerto Rican institutions. And here now I honor him for all his work, for his commitment to preserving and advancing Puerto Rican culture, and for his love for his people.

  2. I loved Otilio Ortiz.

    He was a great teacher for many . He give art, dance and Cuatro classes in El Barrio for over twenty five years. A great scholar and mentor. They don’t make them like him. May yor rest in peace and return as a guardian angel to all those up comming artist in our community.

    Brunilda Vega

  3. The Puerto Rican Parade will be celebrating 50 years, this coming June, 2007. It is fitting that for this parade, which began in El Barrio, we have a float from East Harlem. It should celebrate the struggle, achievements & Taino spirit of Don Otilio & Doña Julia de Burgos.

  4. New York, NY–Don Otilio Díaz, executive director of La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, died Monday, August 21. He was 75. Mr. Díaz had no children, but is survived here in New York by a sister and several nieces.

    A public memorial will be held from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday, August 30 and Thursday, August 31 in Room 103 of the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, located at 1680 Lexington Avenue near 106 Street. Religious services will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, September 1 at Saint Cecilia’s Church, located on East 106th Street between Lexington and Park Avenues. Mr. Diaz will then be buried in his hometown of Guayama, Puerto Rico.


    Otilio Díaz was born in Guayama, near the southern coast of Puerto Rico. He earned a B. A. from the University of Puerto Rico and an M.S. in Educational Administration from Fordham University.

    In 1981, Mr. Díaz joined La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc. as its Executive Director. Over the next 25 years, he worked diligently to promote traditional Puerto Rican arts and culture, including folkloric dancing and music – and to welcome frequent visitors from Puerto Rico and other Latin American nations. Intensely proud of his heritage, Mr. Díaz was also instrumental in the agency’s acquisition of thousands of books and artifacts from and about Puerto Rico. As a result, La Casa was greatly appreciated by many in the Puerto Rican and Latino community.

    The board of directors of La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, Inc. has held several meetings to discuss the agency’s future, and will now begin moving forward to implement their Strategic Plan. In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to La Casa’s “Otilio Diaz Memorial Fund.” For more information, visit:

  5. Serrano Salutes Life of Otilio Diaz

    Washington, DC – August 31, 2006 – Today, Congressman José E. Serrano mourned the loss of Otilio Diaz, a stalwart of the Puerto Rican community in New York. Known throughout the Bronx, Don Otilio was a Puerto Rican community leader as well as the founder and Executive Director of La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña in East Harlem.

    “Otilio Diaz truly earned the respect of the community that he served,” Serrano said. “He was caring, kind and wise, not to mention being a great leader. I respected him and his work deeply and mourn his passing. I can rejoice, however, in the life that he led and the many important things he did during his time on earth. I believe that his life was an exemplary one; one that our children should hear about and learn from.

    “Otilio spent many years bringing attention to the Puerto Rican community for its positive cultural values. Without his efforts, we would not see the types of Puerto Rican self-respect and pride that we see today. This is one of his most important legacies.

    “My heart goes out to his family for their loss, but I’m sure they are busy celebrating the life of this great Puerto Rican New Yorker who did so much for his people. Our city, state, and nation are a better place for his efforts. He will be missed but not forgotten.


    Congressman José E. Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990. He is the longest serving Member of Puerto Rican descent.

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