Florentino “Tino” Duran, owner, former publisher and CEO of the bilingual biweekly newspaper La Prensa, died Sunday, June 25.

His passing, announced yesterday on Facebook by his youngest daughter Nina Duran, comes after several years of battling Alzheimer’s disease. Duran had retired last year and passed the reins of La Prensa to Nina.

“Our sweet, beautiful and loving daddy went to be with the Lord today,” she wrote Sunday. “He passed peacefully in his sleep with my mama by his side.”

Born in 1934, Duran grew up “a tough Alazan Apache Courts kid,” according to a Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame biography. He was expelled from six San Antonio elementary schools because of a “discipline problem,” but the real problem was that he only spoke Spanish.

After graduating from Lanier High School, Duran served in the U.S. Air Force before returning home to attend San Antonio College. There, he worked on the school paper, The Ranger, and eventually earned his bachelor’s in political science and master’s in public administration from St. Mary’s University.

In the mid-1980s, Duran became general manager of El Sol de Tejas in Dallas, and then president and CEO of El Informador Hispano in Fort Worth. In 1989, he returned to San Antonio and resurrected La Prensa.

Established in 1913, La Prensa De San Antonio is a historic, independently-owned bilingual newspaper and online publication. It was the first bilingual publication in the state of Texas.

Founders and former publishers of La Prensa Amelia “Millie” Duran and her husband Tino Duran. Credit: Courtesy / La Prensa

“He would say our sole purpose was to be a vessel to reach out to the Hispanic community in San Antonio, and that it would carry nothing but positive news. To this day, we’ve held true to that,” Nina said of her father’s vision for La Prensa. “There are three reasons, he would say: to inspire, to educate, and to inform San Antonio. That is our purpose. If we do that, then we will have a job well done.”

More than anything, she added, Duran wanted to showcase the city in a positive light, and that trait carried through in how he presented himself as well.

“The one thing dad did every day until his passing, even if he was just going back to bed, was to put his suit on,” Nina said. “My dad used to say, ‘You never know who you are going to meet, you have to be dressed for every opportunity.’ Even when we went to Hawaii, he’d be in a suit, and my mom would tell him to at least put on a guayabera or something. But he wouldn’t.”

Following a post to the newspaper’s Facebook page that stated, “Last night our fearless leader and ‘Jefe’ went to be with the Lord,” loyal readers remembered Duran’s spirit and legacy.

Gina Sandoval wrote: “My dad passed on his Love of reading La Prensa to me and I am forever grateful. He is no longer with us but our memories stay forever.”

Many readers posted tributes in Spanish. Imelda Robledo Spivey wrote: “Mis más sinceras condolencias. Más que un gran jefe fue como un padre y un abuelito para mis hijas. Siempre será recordado con mucho cariño y siempre estaremos muy agradecidas por todo lo que hizo por nosotros.”

Michael Perez expressed appreciation for Duran’s generosity: “My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The Duran family was a blessing to me during my early college years. The scholarships they awarded helped me continue my studies.”

With his wife and co-publisher Amelia “Millie” Duran, Tino established La Prensa Foundation in 1995 to provide students with financial assistance for college.

According to the its website, the Foundation has provided more than $2 million in scholarships for more than 200 students to attend colleges in the Alamo Community Colleges District, St. Mary’s University, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of the Incarnate Word, and other institutions throughout the state.

Duran is survived by his wife of 62 years, Amelia Duran, children Tino Jr., David, Steve, Margie, and Nina, 13 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

A viewing is scheduled for July 5, from 1-7 p.m., with family receiving guests at 5 p.m. at Port Loring Mortuarty, 1101 McCullough Ave. Funeral services will be July 6 at 9 a.m. at the Chapel at Porter Loring. The burial will follow at Fort Sam Houston.

In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations to a scholarship that will be established in his name. To donate, click here. 

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.