Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A memorial service will be held Friday for Southland newspaper publisher and Latino community advocate Jonathan Sanchez, who died Dec. 23.

Sanchez died at his Highland Park home after a short battle with cancer. He was 64.

Together with his wife of more than 30 years, Dolores, he operated Eastern Group Publications, a bilingual 11-newspaper chain serving east, northeast and southeast Los Angeles County.

In 2015, the Mexican-American Sun, ELA Brooklyn-Belvedere Comet, Wyvernwood Chronicle and Monterey Park Comet were folded into EGP’s flagship newspaper, the Eastside Sun. EGP’s other publications are the Northeast Sun, Bell Gardens Sun, Montebello Comet and Commerce Comet.

A longtime activist, he was the founder and president of the Eastern Group Foundation, dedicated to increasing literacy and community volunteerism. The nonprofit’s Letters to Santa program has benefited thousands of disadvantaged children and their families.

The foundation also provides internships for high school and college students pursuing journalism careers, and previously helped grammar school students publish their own mini newspapers.

Sanchez was founding president of the California Hispanic Publishers Association; a member of the California Newspaper Association’s board of directors; and vice president of  the National Federation of Hispanic Owned Newspapers, among several other regional, statewide and national organizations.

Prior to his newspaper career, Sanchez — a lifelong Angeleno and one of nine children — was art director at the Bloom Agency, where he oversaw photography and design for the ad agency’s monthly magazines.

Photography remained one of his lifelong passions, and he was an avid collector of vintage cameras, according to his family.

Last May, the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club honored Sanchez and his wife for their support of the organization.

Sanchez additionally sat on the boards of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce, the Crippled Children’s Society, the Boy Scouts of America and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. at Pillar of Fire Church, 4900 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles.

In lieu of flowers, Sanchez’s family asks that donations be made in his name to the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club in Lincoln Heights or another program supporting children.

—City News Service

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