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Rt. Rev. Onell A. Soto

November 17, 1932 August 5, 2015
Rt. Rev. Onell A. Soto
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Obituary for Rt. Rev. Onell A. Soto

Right Reverend Onell A. Soto, age 82, who served as the Anglican Bishop of Venezuela, and Assistant Bishop in the Episcopal Dioceses of Atlanta and Alabama. Bishop Soto worked to spread the love of God through all facets of his life, whether as a journalist, a minister, a leader, a mentor, and a family man. He pioneered short news stories before Twitter, made sure that the church in Venezuela became a national church, and never stopped sharing his infectious sense of humor. Onell A. Soto was born in Omaja, Cuba, in 1932, the son of Juan Soto Vega, and Mar�_a Almaguer Mayo. After spending his childhood in San Agust�_n de Aguar��z and Omaja, he earned a scholarship to Colegio Irene Toland, a boarding high school in Matanzas. He studied Medicine at the University of Havana until it was closed for political reasons in 1956. A Methodist, he met Nina Ulloa, a leader among Episcopal students, at an ecumenical meeting. He left Cuba for the United States to pursue his and the next year enrolled in Boston University's College of Medicine. He was working at a sanatorium in Mississippi when he learned that his father was a political prisoner of the Castro regime and he returned to Cuba to fight for his freedom. His medical studies interrupted, he felt the call to the ministry and joined the Episcopal Church. He married Nina, then director of Christian Education of the Episcopal Church in Cuba, in 1960. The newlywed couple soon had to flee Cuba's communist dictatorship. He enrolled in the University of the South's School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he earned a degree in Divinity. He was ordained to the priesthood in Bogot��, Colombia, in 1965, and started a new life as a missionary for the Episcopal Church. Onell and Nina's love for the Church and their deep faith and sense of evangelism, led their work as missionaries. He led a parish in Ecuador and served as Executive Secretary of the Ninth Province in El Salvador. On returning to the United States, his adopted country, in the late 1970's Onell served as the Mission Information and Education Officer of the World Mission for the Episcopal Church in New York City for nearly a decade. In 1987, he was elected Anglican Bishop of Venezuela where he served until 1995 and was awarded the Orden del Libertador Sim�_n Bol�_var, the nation's highest civilian honor, for his contributions to Venezuela's moral and spiritual welfare. He was then appointed Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Atlanta, and in 1999 Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Alabama. He retired in 2002 and moved with Nina to Miami. Bishop Soto worked tirelessly for the expansion of the mission of the Episcopal Church throughout Latin America and the world. He was a gifted communicator who understood the power of media to expand ecumenism and evangelism. Before the Internet era, he was a pioneer in developing and distributing the word and mission of the Church through short news stories. He started with the newsletter R��pidas in 1971 and continued with several other publications until, in his retirement, he wrote Rapid�_simas, which ran in several newspapers, online and as an email newsletter until nearly the end of his life. Additionally, and for 25 years he helped Nina edit D�_a a D�_a, the Spanish-language version of the Episcopal Church's daily devotional Day by Day. He was a loving husband and father, and a tireless advocate for others. He possessed a sparkling sense of humor and a deep love of all things Cuban. We are thankful for his life. Bishop Soto is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Nina Soto; his children and their spouses: Ana Mar�_a Soto and Gerardo C��rdenas, Lidia Soto-Harmon and Robert Harmon, Onell and Robin Soto, and Elena Soto-Chapa and Santiago Chapa; his six grandchildren: Tom��s and Nina Harmon, Susana C��rdenas-Soto, and Cristina, Alicia, and Lucas Chapa; and his sister Clara Soto Ivey and nephews Daniel and David Ivey-Soto and their families. A gathering and funeral will be held for him on Saturday, August 8, at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 545 S. East Avenue, Oak Park, IL, 60304. Viewing will begin a 2 pm. Services will begin at 3 pm.


Saturday, August 8 3 p.m.��

St. Christopher's Episcopal Church 545 S. East Ave., Oak Park, IL��


Saturday, August 8 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.��

St. Christopher's Episcopal Church 545 S. East Ave., Oak Park, IL��

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