First Openly Gay Latin councilman in Toledo Dies at 70

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Louis Escobar: Death – Obituary – Cause of Death: Louis Escobar was born on Friday January 27th, 1950. He was Toledo’s first Latino city councilman and first openly gay councilman. He died Saturday, August 29th in St. Luke’s Hospital. He was 70 years old.

Louis was the second son of Nancy Escobar Kotlarczyk and the late Peter Escobar. A 1968 graduate of Central Catholic High School, he received his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s College, a Master of Divinity from SS Cyril and Methodius Seminary, and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Detroit.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1976, and served St. Joseph Tiffin, St. Agnes Toledo, and St. Joseph Maumee parishes. He taught at Central Catholic and Tiffin Calvert high schools. After leaving the priesthood, Louis worked in the criminal justice system as a counselor and probation officer. He later worked for the HIV/AIDS Task Force, the Zepf Center, Adelante, La Posada, Owens Corning, and the University of Toledo.
In 1997, he was elected to Toledo City Council, the first Latino and openly gay man to serve on council. He was re-elected and served three years as president of Toledo City Council.

Louis had a heart for service and for the greater Toledo community. He served on a wide variety of boards and committees benefiting the community, including Northwest State Community College, the AIDS Resource Center, The Fair Housing Center, Toledo Sister Cities, Toledo/Lucas County Homelessness Board, the Latino Arts Council, the Latino/Hispanic Alliance if Greater Toledo, Stonewall Democrats, St. Paul’s Community Center, the Area Office on Aging and numerous others.

Louis will also be terribly missed by his wide circle of friends, and the many young people he mentored throughout his life. Although he left the priesthood, the call to serve remained with him, and his legacy will live far beyond his earthly life. Visitation with social distancing will be held on Friday from 2-8:00 p.m. at the W.K. Sujkowski & Son Funeral Home, 3838 Airport Hwy.  The Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, September 5, 2020 at Saints Peter and Paul Church (738 S St. Clair St., Toledo, OH 43609) at 11:00 a.m. where friends may visit after 10:00 a.m.

He is survived by his beloved companion of 32 years, Kelly Altenberger; his mother, Nancy; brothers, Victor (Marsha) and John (Maria); stepbrother, James (Michelle) Kotlarczyk; foster brother, Joseph Campos Jr.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Peter; stepfather, Ted Kotlarczyk; and Sophie, his dear miniature poodle.