AUSTIN (KXAN) — Johnny Limon was one of a kind.
A civic and community leader in east Austin for decades, and the kind of person that everyone wanted fighting for them, died over the weekend at 69 years old.
Limon’s nephew Lonnie spoke with KXAN on Monday, and he painted a picture of a man who wanted to be the voice for those who, for one reason or another, couldn’t speak.
“Kids didn’t always have somebody to speak for them and he said I want to be that voice for them,” Lonnie said. “Some of the elderly didn’t have someone to speak for them so he said I’m going to help them, and working families were busy working, so he said I’m going to be the voice to speak for them.”
Whether it was fighting for affordable housing for families, or giving kids in his neighborhood a place to safely play by building a basketball court, Lonnie said his uncle was just doing what he thought was right.
“Growing up in east Austin you could be poor, but have a tight knit community, and he knew that,” Lonnie said, “and when you break up a tight knit community, you break up the fabric of something that works in spite of money. There’s no money needed; you just have to water it with love and care, and he knew that. He knew he could keep families in Austin.”
Lonnie described his uncle as a “volunteeraholic,” and said it was the nicest way he could ever characterize all the things his uncle did for people. Johnny was a board member for HousingWorks Austin, a 24-year Meals on Wheels deliverer, choir director at St. Julia Catholic Church, advisor to the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation and vice president of the Austin Tejano Music Coalition, among countless other volunteer endeavors.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who considered Limon a dear friend, expressed his condolences on Twitter.
“I’m heartbroken like I lost part of my family,” Adler said.
Limon retired from Tracor Incorporated, a defense electronic contractor, after 30 years. He said he planned to live in east Austin “for the rest of my life.”
Lonnie said his uncle did so much for so many people, it’s impossible for one person to carry on such a huge legacy.
“You can’t recreate a legacy like my uncle johnny’s individually, it’s got to be collectively, because he did so much that one person can’t recreate it,” Lonnie said. “It would take an army.”