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Laura Rodriguez


Bridge Builder

Laura Rodriguez devoted countless hours and untiring devotion to the Barrio Chicano Community Health Center, helping to create a service to the community at a time when medical care in this area was lacking. Laura said "I've dedicated my life to Barrio Logan. Improving the health of my neighbors in this community has been my primary concern. I've never had much of a formal education, but I've always had a desire to see the people in my community given good medical care."

One of three siblings born to an Italian father and a Mexican mother, Laura spent most of her life in the Barrio. Orphaned at age 12, she was befriended by the Marston family who became her legal guardian. At 16 she married gardener David Rodriguez and returned to the Barrio, where they raised four children. Laura became a catalyst in the founding of Chicano Park, planting herself in front of a bulldozer and helping organize round-the-clock demonstrations to make San Diego officials honor their commitment to keep the property near the east end of the Coronado Bridge a community park. She then turned her focus to what became the Logan Heights Family Health Center, created in 1970 on National Avenue. Through Laura's powers of persuasion and the homemade tamales she offered civic leaders, she brought in financial pledges of support and many volunteer hours. She herself worked many 12-hour days at the clinic. In 1987, a pediatric clinic was added in Laura Rodriguez's name.
Her trademark tamales helped launch the "Spirit of the Barrio" luncheons which inspire supporters to continue to make the Logan Heights Family Health Center the pride of the community. The clinic covers dentistry, social services, eye clinic, family planning, speech correction, podiatry, gynecology, dermatology and cardiology and partners with the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Mercy Hospital.

Laura Rodriguez's honors and recognition include: Neighborhood House's community service plaque 1973, Mexican American Woman of the Year award 1974 and Oradora de Honor 1978, SDG&E Consumer Advisory Panel Service Award 1980, Salvation Army Door of Hope Women's Auxiliary-Women of Distinction Award 1981. Former Mayor Susan Golding and then-San Diego City Councilman Juan Vargas honored her as an important activist for the health and well-being of the community. She was designated "Woman of the Year" in 1987 by the California Legislature. In 1991 Laura was presented with the 595th Point of Light Recipient by President George Bush.At the time of her death in 1994, Laura Rodriguez was survived by her 4 children, 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

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