While in the presence of family and in the hands of her son, Yolanda Black Navarro, a beloved mother, sister, grandmother, friend, and champion of Houston’s East End, lost her battle with leukemia on Monday, November 9, 2015.
Yolanda Black Navarro, a native Houstonian, was born on July 15, 1947 to Herbert Adalid Black of New York and Velia Arcos Rodriguez of Houston. Yolanda is survived by her loving immediate family which includes her son, Christian Cuauhtémoc Navarro (Jill Garrison Navarro); her two brothers, Leo Gomez (Kammy Gomez) and Hermann Gomez (the late Elba Gomez); her three sisters, Gloria Black Torres (Joel C. Torres), Dena Duran Gutierres (Morris Gutierres), and Gina Duran; her grandchildren, Renee Navarro and Rosalie Navarro; and her nieces and nephews, Jennifer Torres Moseley, Bernadette Torres Alvarez, Jacob Joel Torres, Patrick Kyle Gomez, Kaila Velia Gomez, Alexander Gomez, Gabriel Gomez, Daniel Keith, Monique Castillo, Pauline Hernandez, Roxanne Keith, Richard Keith, Alyssa Marie Aswell, and Michael A. Aswell, Jr. Yolanda also loved and valued her extended family, the Arcos Rodriguez family and Adalid Black family.
Yolanda Black Navarro is a graduate of Our Lady of Guadalupe School, Incarnate Word Academy, and The University of Houston. Following her career as a business manager with Southwestern Bell, Yolanda became a community and city icon through her civic and political leadership. Yolanda was a woman of deep faith, and was at all times guided by her Christian desire to love her family and serve her community. She knew no stranger, no one was exempt from her love and guidance, no problem was too big to solve, no cause too great to undertake. A committed civic leader she served Houston well. A friend and confidant of every mayor since Kathy Whitmire, she served on the Metro Board, the Parks Board and ran for Houston City Council. Most recently, she chaired Mayor Parker’s Hispanic Advisory Committee. Yolanda found the best in everyone, but was not blind to the evils present in our society such as poverty and discrimination; evils that she took head on through advocacy and activism. She fiercely fought for all Houstonians to be treated equally and helped disadvantaged youth by founding “Shoes for Kids”, an event that provides shoes to low-income children.
Yolanda was a proud founder of the Association for the Advancement of Mexican- Americans. Her civic engagement also included American Leadership Forum, El Centro De Corazon, Greater East End Management District, Talento Bilingüe de Houston, San Jacinto Girls Scouts, The Park People, and Incarnate Word Academy. Yolanda was the recipient of the Mayor’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Willie Velasquez Community Service Award, and the East End Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award.
Her love for politics led her to be a strong advocate for voter participation and civic engagement which resulted in her volunteering on countless political campaigns. Yolanda touched countless lives and was loved by many. What will be missed most about her is her passion for life, her infectious smile, her can-do attitude and her selfless love. She has left a distinctive and memorable mark on this city and will be missed by her family and friends.
The family will be accepting visitors for a Visitation on Thursday, November 12, 2015 from 6:00pm until 9:00pm at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 2405 Navigation Blvd. Houston, Texas 77003 with a Rosary to begin at 7:00pm. A Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 2405 Navigation Blvd. Houston, Texas 77003 will begin at 10:00am, Friday, November 13, 2015. The Interment will follow at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale St. Houston, Texas 77023. Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Felix H. Morales Funeral Home, 2901 Canal St. Houston, TX 77003, (713)223-1167. In lieu of flowers, Yolanda Black Navarro requests that you consider a donation to “Shoes for Kids.”