News Column

Political Organizer Emanuel 'Manny' Ortiz Dies at 63

March 13, 2013

Robert Moran

Emanuel "Manny" Ortiz, 63, a longtime advocate and political organizer in Philadelphia's Puerto Rican community, died Friday, March 8, at Pennsylvania Hospital of complications following heart surgery.

For two decades, Mr. Ortiz served as executive director of the Hispanic educational organization ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania. He also was a founder of Taller Puertorriqueno, a group for activists and artists.

He served as deputy mayor under Mayor Ed Rendell. He was a key supporter for former City Councilman Angel Ortiz and the coalition that elected Mayor W. Wilson Goode.

"He was truly dedicated to the community, truly dedicated to the Latino struggle in Philadelphia," said his son, Olisvier.

Mr. Ortiz was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, to Maria Virginia and Gabriel Ortiz. He came to the United States as a child with his family, first to Florida and finally to Philadelphia.

He graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School, then earned an associate degree from Community College of Philadelphia, where he later served as a board member. He earned a bachelor's degree from Cheyney University.

Mr. Ortiz married Helga Margarita in 1973 and had four children: sons Alendiz, Keliomar, and Olisvier, and daughter Yamaira.

He had a second marriage with Bonnie Jean Ortiz, who had three children of her own: Melissa, Gabriel, and Priscilla.

Mr. Ortiz is also survived by sisters Esther Burgos, Stephanie Burgos, and Edith Gonzalez; brothers Roberto and Daniel; and eight grandchildren.

Source: (c)2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by MCT Information Services