Hispanic Community Leader —
MARY GAMEZ LONA WAS BORN on June 30, 1954, in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. She came to Kansas City at a very early age and spent most of her life in the metro area. In 1978, Lona graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. Lona and her husband then returned to Kansas City where their three sons were born.
A biography of Lona describes her in the following way: ”Lona was a bright light for the entire community. Where she saw a need, she was there to find a way to fix the problem. Honesty, caring and compassion were a part of her. However, she had a steel backbone and a certain bluntness that got her to the heart of an issue so she could take action. She was a fierce and resolute fighter for all of us — Latino, black, white, young, old, women, the sick and dying.“
Professionally, she was the publisher of ”La Lista Latina, Hispanic Business Directory;“ the founder of La Lista Latina — Live and the Hispanic Consumer Trade Show; the director of the Westside Cabot Clinic; supervisor of Parents As Teachers; director of the Teen Pregnancy Program at Guadeloupe Center, and an anti-substance abuse counselor at Haskell American Indian College.
Lona had foresight and a vision for the community, particularly the Hispanic community. She wanted Latinos to take their rightful role in the Kansas City area, especially in the economic arena.