Filipino American community leader Wilfredo “Jing” Espiritu passed away after a battle with COVID-19 last January 31 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was 71 years old.
His decades-long work with the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and with the Filipino American/AAPI community touched the lives of many, the organization said in a statement.
Espiritu formerly served as the organization’s region chair of the Desert Mountain region.
Espiritu’s legacy of love and service will forever live on in his charity work, in his family and friends, and in the Filipino/Filipino American communities.
“Jing was a close friend and mentor to me when I first got involved with NaFFAA. He was instrumental in getting me appointed as Nevada Youth Chair when I first began, and I never would have gotten to where I am now if it weren’t for his guidance and his friendship. He truly cared about the growth and mobility of his community, and he will be greatly missed,” reflects National Chairman Brendan Flores.
The current Desert Mountain Region Chair of NaFFAA, Leo Belmonte, also comments, “Jing Espiritu was a greatly influential and well-respected leader in our community. He set a precedent for how one should lead with great ambition and compassion. Not only was he an encouraging mentor to many, but he knew how to bring people together from all walks of life.”
NaFFAA’s Founding Leaders add:
“Like so many of you, I knew Jing as a friend and a community leader. Through his work with NAFFAA and many numerous organizations, he empowered us. Jing proved time and again that he cared about our community, and he always went out of his way to make us shine.
His reach was vast and productive. At times we did not agree on approaches to certain projects, but we could always agree to disagree and come to a reasonable solution. That was one of his most admirable qualities—he could be counted on to listen and really hear you.
As hard as it is to say goodbye, our community is stronger thanks to Jing’s influence, and each of us is better for having known him,” said Gloria T. Caoile, who served among NaFFAA’s Trustees during Jing’s term.
“Jing helped us build NaFFAA when we were just beginning. He shared our work and brought new partners in our mission and vision. We will always be grateful to him and his family and hope to continue the legacy he left behind,” said Bing C. Branigin, who was also Region Chair of Capital Region.
“Jing’s commitment to community empowerment was always evident in his many leadership roles. He brought energy and enthusiasm to everything he believed could make a difference,’ said Jon Melegrito, who was NaFFAA’s Executive Director at that time.
“He was a true servant leader,” shared Loida Nicolas Lewis, NaFFAA’s Founding Chair.
NaFFAA sends our greatest condolences to Jing’s family, friends, and loved ones. We celebrate his service to the Filipino American/AAPI communities, and we strive to follow his examples of leadership, mentorship, and friendship. Jing Espiritu was loved by many. May his legacy inspire us to continue our work with purpose and passion. (Contributed by NaFFAA)