Rafael OrtizMay 1, 1941 ~ November 16, 2017 (age 76)
Rafael Ortiz Castellanos was born on a Thursday morning, the first of May in 1941 in the outskirts of Tenares “El Corozal”, Dominican Republic. The son of Leonte Ortiz and Pascuala Castellanos, Rafael was the second of six children from the couple. Rafael grew up listening to old boleros and was, at an early age, introduced by his father Leonte, the skill of carpentry and cabinet making. As it was common in those days, Rafael was only able to achieve a second grade level of education as he had to work alongside his father to put food on the table. Rafael and his father were locally known as the “to go” people in town if there was ever a request from someone to make them a cabinet, table, guitar and even a casket. Anything that could be made out of wood…Rafael and his father did. Besides staying busy with work, Rafael also stayed occupied with singing and guitar playing. Guitar playing, singing and entertaining was Rafael’s favorite. And although he only had an elementary level of education, Rafael memorized poems, riddles and had knowledge of a vast amount of words which he occasionally used when engaged in a conversation with friends and family.
In 1978 Rafael immigrated to the United States in search for a better future and to provide his family with better opportunities. Within six years of residing in the States, Rafael was able to bring his wife and four children to New York. He work tirelessly to provide them with everything they needed and always made sure he taught his kids respect, responsibility and family values. After many years in the States, Rafael retired and moved back to Tenares where he lived until his last days.
Rafael is remembered by his children, family and friends as a humble, family oriented, funny, respectful, and an amazing human being. His legacy will live on in the lives of all of those who met him.