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Tuesday, December 17, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Vic Bacho, 96, Filipino Leader

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Vic Bacho lived and breathed politics. Not for glory, but for what it could do for the Filipino community.

"My uncle was politically astute, on a first-name basis with politicians, locally and at the highest levels," said his nephew Peter Bacho of Seattle, noting that Mr. Bacho was invited to President John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball.

"But he liked anything that had to do with the public interest. He was a moving force behind the Rizal Park on 12th Avenue South in Seattle." (Mr. Bacho and others worked to get the city of Seattle to dedicate the park and its adjoining bridge in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal, a national hero in the Philippines.)

Mr. Bacho also organized Filipino-American support for Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign, agitated for local open-housing laws in the 1960s, and helped get the city of Seattle to formally recognize Filipino contributions to its growth.

Mr. Bacho died Wednesday, Dec. 11, of cardiac arrest. He was 96.

Born in the Philippines, he emigrated to the United States in 1925, seeking new opportunity and a college education. During the Depression, he worked as a farm laborer in California.

His experiences with discrimination led, said his nephew, to Mr. Bacho's belief "that the progress of Filipinos in their new home depended on their unity as a people. Vic chose to dedicate his life toward the improvement of Filipino life in the U.S."

He was a leader in the Filipino community in Sacramento in the 1930s, served in the Army during World War II, then moved to Seattle.

Mr. Bacho held many jobs, including inspector for the state Department of Agriculture. He also earned a political-science degree at the University of Washington in 1958.

He immersed himself in community politics, and helped get a Filipino community center built.

"What I remember most about Pop was his firm belief in democracy in the United States, his loyalty to his friends, family and country, and his strong belief that education was the great equalizer in fighting discrimination," said his nephew Norris Bacho, of Hartford, Conn.

Other survivors include his wife of 29 years, Aurelia Bacho, of Seattle; brothers Gervacio Bacho and Gaudioso Bacho, of the Philippines; and sisters Genoveva Villordon, Norberta Rosario and Valentina Bandolan, the Philippines.

A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, in Our Lady of the Lake Church, 8900 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle. Remembrances may go to the International Drop-In Center, 409 Maynard Ave. S., Seattle WA 98104.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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