Feb 1, 1953 – Oct 22, 2010
FORMER TRIBUNE COLUMNIST DIES AT 57. Born In Manila, Philippine.Estrada died on October 22, 2010 as a result of pancreatic cancer.
Even though it had been 25 years since George Estrada wrote for the Oakland Tribune, even though he had moved on to other news agencies, wrote several books and most recently served as a journalism professor at Humboldt State University, one of his last requests was for his obituary to appear in the Tribune.
"That was very important to him," said longtime friend and fellow journalist Martin Snapp. "He still considered himself a loyal Tribbie."
Estrada died Oct. 22, at his home in Eureka after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
From 1997 to 2010, Estrada was a full professor on the journalism faculty at Humboldt State University, and served as adviser for the Osprey Magazine, a student-edited journal at Humboldt State.
He wrote two books about the Philippines, "I Have Tasted the Sweet Mangoes of Cebu," which was nominated for a Pulitzer in 2004, and, "As Flip as I Want to Be: Ruminations on the Filipino American Experience." He was also the author and co-author of several scholarly works.
As a professional journalist, he worked as a columnist and news reporter for the Oakland Tribune from 1976 to 1992 and as a correspondent with the Associated Press. He also wrote a weekly column on the "Filipino American experience" for the Philippine Times of Las Vegas and the California Examiner.
"He was writing a column for the Tribune when he decided he wanted to go and do other stuff, and I was selected as his replacement," Snapp said. "But nobody could replace George. I merely succeeded him."
"George was one of the world's great guys, a great friend and a unique individual," said Jon Kawamoto, former editor of The Montclarion and The Piedmonter, and former assistant news editor at the Oakland Tribune. "You can't help but smile when you think about George because you remember his sense of humor, which would range from deadpan to impish."
Kawamoto called Estrada "talented beyond belief. He could write a news story but you got the full sense of his personality through his feature stories and his Tribune column, the Eastbay Ear. He had a gift for interviewing. He could be charming and disarming and once you met him, you wanted to hang with him and be his friend for the rest of your life."
Estrada also composed original music, performing and producing a musical CD in collaboration with longtime friend Jim Caroompas as part of the group Los Dos. He performed in and produced several music videos that were showcased on MTV in the 1980s.
Estrada attended Fremont High School in Oakland where he earned his letterman jacket as a member of the varsity tennis team. He was also a member of his high school drama club where he performed lead roles in several productions, including the Wizard in "The Wizard of Oz."
He was an avid sports fan, particularly of the Oakland A's. A photo of a 12-year-old Estrada catching a home run ball in the bleachers was featured in the Oakland A's yearbook.
Following high school, he attended UC Berkeley, where he earned his bachelor's degree in psychology. He earned his doctorate in journalism at the University of Texas in Austin.
"George was fearless. He took everything in stride and in humor, and never, ever complained -- about his pancreatic cancer, his treatments, or of anything," Kawamoto said. "And I'll never forget how we ended our final conversation about a month ago. George said, 'I'll see you on the other side.' "Estrada is survived by his wife, Noreen, and his children, Ally and George. Services have been held.