Chicago Latino publisher dies

January 31, 2013

(Tele Guia Chicago)

The founder of a prominent Latino publishing company in Chicago has died. Ezequiel Montes was a businessman, a publisher and activist.

Montes was a board member for several organizations, including the Little Village Chamber of Commerce and Norwegian American Hospital. He'd also served as board president of the National Association of Hispanic Publications and was an advocate for Latino literacy.

Montes began a Spanish language television guide from his home in 1985. His business then expanded into publications such as Spanish language yellow pages and newspapers.

One of his four children, Esteban Montes, said his father’s vision was to see other Hispanic publications succeeding too.

“He would always sacrifice his own publication to help other publications," Montes said. "He would never put himself first.”

He remembers riding along with his father as he distributed his magazine.

He said his father wanted to give a voice to Latinos.

Steve Franklin, a former Chicago Tribune journalist and ethnic media organizer for the Community Media Workshop, worked with Montes on a Latino news project that brought together smaller publications across Greater Chicago to share resources.

“If I said 'Zeke, let’s have a meeting of people,' he'd say 'okay let’s do it,' and that's an incredibly important value,” Franklin said.  “He worked feverishly on the national level to help the Latino news media.”

Montes died Tuesday of respiratory failure after battling pneumonia for a few months.

He was 64.  He is survived by his wife and four children.