Longtime Jamaica Plain resident and activist Carlos Icaza, who died Aug. 16, is being remembered by many of those whose lives and organizations he touched.
He served in various roles on the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) and on the JP Business and Professional Association since the 1980s. He was part of the team that put up and took down the holiday lights and wreaths on Centre Street every year and organized their recycling in his own backyard last year.
He also was active at various times in the Sumner Hill Association and the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation board.
“The loss of Carlos is the loss of a true community asset,” said Sandra Storey, a former JPNC member and Gazette publisher, and a longtime JP BAPA member.
Storey recalled a humorous incident five years ago, when Icaza vandalized an advertising scooter that an outside company deliberately left hogging parking spaces on Centre Street. Icaza faced some legal trouble for the prank, but many locals appreciated his passion against the annoyance in the central business district.
“Carlos was good folks. He was one of the few people who worked behind the scenes in JP. It was through him that I learned how to run a community organization,” former BAPA president Brad Brown told the Gazette.
Icaza was the BAPA vice president while Brown served. Brown especially recalled Icaza’s role in the annual JP Shines neighborhood cleanup, which inspired the citywide Boston Shines version.
“His involvement with JP Shines is felt every day by the people of JP, even if they don’t realize it,” said Brown. “He was one of the few people in the community who saw a problem and did something about it. We all live in a better community because of Carlos.”
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story stated that Icaza was responsible for the lights and wreaths on Centre Street. He was part of the team that does so.