From my friend and colleague, Richard Fimbres:
On Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Felipe Lundin passed away peacefully, surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and his beloved wife, Donna. His family extends their appreciation to the community for their thoughts and prayers over the past few weeks.
Felipe’s devotion to his community was always present in his actions as a father, a worker, and a border activist. Before joining the Board of Directors at Humane Borders and Border Action Network, Felipe served on non-profit boards for Kino Community Hospital and Pio Decimo. Yet as a long-time resident of southern Arizona, Felipe was intimately familiar with the border community, and he focused his formidable skills on border issues. A strong leader and celebrated border activist, Felipe was instrumental in expanding humanitarian aid throughout southern Arizona and northern Mexico. In his role as board president, he successfully led Humane Borders and Border Action Network through a difficult transitions with grace and dignity so that the agencies could combine forces to provide assistance to those in need. Dinah Bear, Board Chair for Humane Borders, said, “Felipe often quoted a verse in Matthew that says ’I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Matthew 25:35). He will be remembered and missed.”
Born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, Felipe became a naturalized United States citizen. During the Vietnam War, he was awarded the Airman’s medal for heroism for his service as a medic in 1969–1970. When he returned to Arizona, Felipe married Donna Ruth Carter; together, they shared a loving family that now includes 7 children, 16 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. While working as a copper miner for 16 years to support his growing family, Felipe served as Financial Secretary for United Steelworkers of America as well as Union Steward and Picket Captain. Once he left the mine, he became an active citizen of Pima County and was appointed Justice of the Peace for District 2 in 1994. Felipe retired from Pima County after 21 years as Director for the Department of Institutional Health. Once retired, he dedicated himself to the task of providing life-giving water in the desert through his work with Humane Borders. During his career and throughout his years of volunteer work on behalf of his community, Felipe embodied the spirit of unselfish advocacy and service tempered by his own unique combination of strength and humility.
“As a community, we are now entrusted with carrying on the legacy of this wonderful man. Felipe often expressed how proud he was of Humane Borders and made me promise that we would continue the mission and care for the migrants crossing the desert,” said Juanita Molina, Executive Director of Humane Borders. “We can now commemorate the memory of our great friend, Felipe, through our efforts on behalf of Humane Borders. I am grateful for your devotion to this organization and invite you to draw on our shared memories of Felipe's companionship and leadership as we move forward; his contributions to humanitarian aid and his love of his fellow man will not be forgotten.” Upon learning about Felipe's passing, Pastor David Avram from Ontario, Canada, wrote, “My prayers go out to this worker in God’s vineyard.”
Please join us in remembering Felipe during a rosary and mass at 11a.m. this Thursday, December 4, at St. Ambrose Church, 300 S. Tucson Boulevard. In keeping with Felipe’s wishes, memorial contributions may be directed to Humane Borders at https://humaneborders.org/.