The Hispanic world of journalism and publications lost a legendary man, husband, father, colleague and a friend – Ezequiel “Zeke” Montes (1948-2013). Zeke passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 29. He was the founder and CEO of the successful Spanish language TV guide “Tele Guía,” as well as the current president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP).
Zeke was well-known for his involvement with the NAHP. He served as a president of the NAHP for six terms. He was elected as the second NAHP president in 1986 and served three terms early in the NAHP history when board members were elected to one year terms (1986-1989). Zeke’s accomplishments from this period include the NAHP joining HACR and other key national organizations, the growth of the NAHP Group Buy program, the start of the José Martí Awards, the NAHP’s first scholarships, and the first convention in Mexico.
“He was in the final year of his final two year term (2011-2013) when we lost him. While others have devoted meaningful time to the NAHP and the development of Hispanic print – Zeke devoted his life,” said Kirk Whisler, president of the Latino print network, one of the original founders of NAHP, as well as one of Zeke’s closest friends. “Everyone remembers him as such a positive, energetic, happy person. He was so full of joy. So committed to seeing the entire Latino community get treated with the respect that it deserves.”
Jose Luis Garza, the current vice-president of the NAHP, who had known Zeke for 19 years, said that the NAHP was “an extension of his [Zeke’s] family.” “I called him hermanito,” said Garza. “I will remember him as a great Hispanic leader, a good friend but also an exemplary citizen.”
“I will always remember Zeke when we first started talking about creating a national organization,” said Mila Tellez, founder of Extra publication. “He was dynamic, creative, and energized all of us. The result was the NAHP.”
Clara Padilla Andrews, the immediate past president of the NAHP, remembers Zeke as a compassionate and loving family man who was able to balance both his career and family life. “He was a very strong conservative lead in the industry and he was also a very strong family man. He loved his family. He talked about his wife and children all the time,” said Andrews. “One of the things that impressed me, he was always looking for a nice gift for his wife. So unique to see and observe that. He loved his wife. “
“Zeke was never happier than when he was surrounded by family and friends. Zeke was so proud of each and every grandchild. Logan, Lucas and Kayla, to active and boundary testing teenagers, Christopher and Aaron, to wonderful young ladies Amanda, Brittney, Ashley, and Nicolete,” said Whisler. “Zeke was also extremely happy that his children Patricia, Christina, and Steve are all now working and managing the publications. It truly was his dream to have them carry on with the efforts he and Rose started nearly 30 years ago.”
“Zeke was truly a we person, not a me person,” said Whisler. “Zeke had the rare quality of making everyone he meets feel important – from waitresses and the readers of Tele Guía to corporate CEOs and presidents, and he met at least 15 presidents of the United States, Mexico, or another Latin American country. I feel like I’ve lost my right arm with the loss of my best friend.”
In addition to his involvement with the NAHP, Zeke was on other national boards like the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR).
A bilingual website has been created to share the remembrances of Zeke Montes at http://www.ilasting.com/zekemontes.php. The NAHP has also set up a fund in his memory. For more information go to www.NAHP.org.n