Long-time Seattle community leader “Uncle” Bob Santos died on Aug. 27.
Born in Seattle to a Filipino immigrant father and a Native American/Filipino mother, Santos became involved with Seattle’s civil rights movement in the 1960s. He was one of the “Gang of Four” — civil rights leaders who worked together even though they were from different communities in Seattle. He was featured in a book he co-authored which was released last year, “The Gang of Four: Four Leaders, Four Communities, One Friendship.”
Santos also served as the executive director of Inter*Im from 1972 to 1989, and he was the regional director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1994.
In 2012, Santos received the Banaag award from the president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, as part of the country’s “Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas” program. The Banaag Award, Tagalog for “bright light,” is conferred on Filipino individuals for their contributions that have significantly advanced the cause of overseas Filipino communities.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement on Aug. 27:
“Michael and I were heartbroken to hear of today’s passing of “Uncle” Bob Santos, one of our city’s great community leaders. Bob Santos touched countless lives across every race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and age in Seattle. He was everyone’s “uncle” because of his universal and unwavering friendship, and he was a hero to many marginalized Seattleites who he tirelessly advocated for. I have been fortunate to have worked with him on many of these issues for over two decades.
Seattle mourns the loss of one or greatest civic leaders tonight, and our city is much greater because of his life. Our thoughts are with his wife, Sharon Tomiko Santos, and his entire family.”
Bob Santos was 82 years old. You can share and send your memories of Uncle Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org.