Marcelo Tafoya

Obituary of Marcelo Hernandez Tafoya

On Sunday, November 14, 2021, Marcelo H. Tafoya of Austin, relocated to Heaven due to natural causes. In the 1960s and '70s, Marcelo was one of the first La Onda Tejana broadcasting pioneers and considered one of the founding fathers of the Tejano music genre. He remained a broadcaster for over 40 years in Texas as well as a promoter and supporter of the industry. He was also a leader for the Chicano civil rights movement for over 60 years.

He chose the path of radio and communications to help him reach and serve his community. He was the first recipient of the Tejano Music Awards “Lifetime Achievement Award.” His career as a radio show host began on KGTN and was swiftly followed at KUT and KAZZ.

He had the first Hispanic television show in Central Texas named "Austin Presenta" on KTBC channel 7. He held live music events at the Palmer event center, Pan Am Hillside, and across Central Texas. He owned two record shops, two record labels, an advertising agency, and two newspapers named, Música and The Echo. He was also a proud owner of five Texas radio stations: KLFB, KLTD, KCYL, KGTN, and KRGT.

His most famous quote was “Sin música no hay vida” which he coined in the ’60s during his early broadcasting days. He was able to use music and television as a platform to gain the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, especially President Nixon. He was the first Hispanic DJ invited to the White House to be a member of the President’s Committee on Drug Abuse, which consisted of a group of 13 DJs chosen from across the nation to advocate anti-drug messages on air to target youth. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson worked directly with Marcelo on Spanish versions of his political ads to air on his show. Through his broadcasting career and advertising agency, Marcelo collaborated with many prominent politicians in reaching the Hispanic community.

He was not only enthusiastic about music but also about his heritage.  After Marcelo retired in 1993 due to the S&L crisis during the '80's and early '90's, he amplified his activity in the League of United Latin American Citizens (of which he was a member for over 50 years) where he was dedicated to helping the Latino community. His involvement in the Central Texas and Panhandle areas was extensive; from helping found Pan Am Hillside, helping establish Parque Aztlan (Lubbock, Texas), helping get the Montopolis Recreation Center built, and get his people elected to office, and sitting on over a dozen community organizations boards, and chairing a local nonprofit charter school board.

With the help of his microphone and the strength of his listeners, Marcelo was able to help families cover funeral costs for loved ones, provide free toys and gifts for families in need, feed thousands, and promote the causes for the LULAC people. These are but a small fraction of his accomplishments and, achievements during, his lifetime.

Ultimately, Marcelo was dedicated to the community and will forever be remembered by all of those he gave comfort and security to through his actions. He valued his roots and was a Tejano Music memorabilia collector. His dream was to share his memorabilia through the Tejano Artist Music Museum, Inc. for all to learn and enjoy the culture.

Marcelo was also a loving husband and, father and a, great provider, and leader. He made sure that his children had a stable and loving home. Strong and resilient, he would fight for what he felt was right. He taught his children to speak their minds and stand up for what they believe in. He was a man of his word. Marcelo was a protector, comforter, and positive force. He made sure that his wife was able to spend time with her family and have everything she needed to raise their children. He gave all his heart to his family and community.

He is gone too soon, but his memories and legacy will live on in the beautiful family he and his wife created.

He was preceded into heaven by his beloved wife of 57 years, Isabel Tafoya, parents, Joaquin and Concepcion Tafoya, siblings, Manuel H. Tafoya, Valentino D. Tafoya, and Linda Tafoya Brown. His sister Mary Tafoya Black and family.

He is survived by his children Michelle & Joseph Salazar (spouse), Melissa & Henry Cortez (spouse), Miranda & Alex Arrington (spouse), and Marcelo A. Tafoya Sr. (son). His grandchildren Michael & Andrea (spouse), Marcelo, Jr., Mikayla, Joe, Matthew, and Jazerae. His great-grandchildren Melody, Malia, and Michael. His many nieces and nephews as well as his extended family the Bellacetin's from Mexico City.

Due to Covid restrictions, the services will be private and there will not be a reception. We thank you all for the love, support, and prayers.  In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Tejano Artist Music Museum, Inc. or directly to his family.

Services will be live-streamed. To participate, please follow the link at Mission Serenity Funeral Home Facebook Page

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