Raquel Regalado, a celebrated Cuban-American radio host and wife of Miami City Commissioner Tomás Regalado, died early Sunday. She was 60.
Regalado died of heart failure at Mercy Hospital in Miami, her family said.
”She was the best advisor, the best friend I’ve ever had in my life,” said Tomás Regalado, who was married to Raquel for 35 years. He added: “A loving wife, a marvelous mother.”
Raquel Regalado co-anchored a daily morning show on WWFE-La Poderosa (670-AM) called Lo Que Otros No Dicen (What Others Won’t Say) and hosted another program on La Poderosa called Panorama.
Her work complemented that of husband Tomás, who besides being a city commissioner is also a radio and television personality in his own right.
”At the end of the day this community has lost a voice, a voice that spoke for them,” said her son, Tomás N. Regalado. “A microphone has been silenced this morning.”
He added that her radio program aimed “to say the truth and to give the community a voice . . . In this city that we live in sometimes a lot of people don’t say the truth, and my mom did.”
He also recalled that despite her heavy workload, his mother was devoted to her family. ”She was the cornerstone in our family,” he said.
”When I was a little kid she would take us to school, she would pick us up,” he said. “She made sure the radio show didn’t interfere with family life.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, paid tribute to Raquel Regalado in a telephone interview. She had known Raquel for more than 25 years and appeared on her show about a month ago to discuss the presidential campaign.
”She will be greatly missed,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “She was a warm-hearted individual who had a lot of compassion for all the community members. Her voice will be sorely missed not just on the radio waves but throughout so many activities in our community.”
Regalado was born May 22, 1947, in Havana.
In 1960, she came to Miami with her father and two brothers — part of the initial waves of Cuban refugees fleeing the takeover of the island by Fidel Castro in 1959.
Twelve years later, in 1972, she married Tomás Regalado and had three children: Tomás Jr., José Francisco and Raquel.
”My mother was a person that spent a lifetime serving others and never asking anything for herself,” said her daughter Raquel. “She had a life of sacrifice and love.
”We are thankful for the gift of having had her in our lives,” she added.
Raquel Regalado’s radio career also began in 1972.
”Raquel got her start in radio with me, on the old Cadena Azul, during the ’70s,” said Tomás Regalado. “She pursued a career in radio during her entire life, being heard over Radio Mambí, on WQBA and on La Poderosa.”
”She was a woman who always had a clear course once she set sails,” said her friend Jorge A. Rodríguez, owner of La Poderosa and Cadena Azul. “She was a woman with a strong character, passionate about her beliefs and struggles.”
Tomás Regalado asked that his wife be remembered for her struggle for human rights.
”During the ’80s and early ’90s, every year she would attend the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, which was a vital cause for her,” he recalled.
Regalado also traveled internationally for three decades to cover stories, he said.
Regalado is survived by her husband, three children, two grandchildren — Isabella and Sebastián — and a brother, José Ferreiro.
Services will be at noon Tuesday at St. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 900 SW 26th Rd., Miami. Burial will follow at Flagler Memorial Park, at West Flagler and 53rd Avenue.