Adelfa Botello Callejo, well-known Dallas attorney and long-time civil and political activist, died late Friday at the age of 90.
Callejo survived three different bouts with cancer -- breast, colon and brain cancer -- but succumbed to brain cancer just before midnight Friday, Jan. 24. She was surrounded by family.
A Memorial Mass will for Callejo will be held Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas. It is open to the public.
Callejo was born June 10, 1923 in Millett, Texas. The daughter of an immigrant Mexican father and a Mexican-American mother, she graduated from Cotulla High School in 1939. She moved to California where she started her own import-export business and met her husband William F. Callejo.
The couple returned to Dallas where she worked as a secretary by day and attended Southern Methodist University at night. Callejo studied for her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees at the same time and in 1961 she became the first Hispanic woman to graduate from the SMU Dedman School of Law.
She had been a partner in Callejo and Callejo focusing on personal injury, family and criminal law for 45 years. She held many leadership positions in law circles including founder and president of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas and president of the Dallas County Criminal Bar Association. The SMU Dedman School of Law named the Adelfa Botello Callejo Leadership and Latino Studies Institute in her honor.
Callejo is also well-known for her civil rights work to eliminate racial barriers and improve equality in education. The list of honors and awards is lengthy including the LULAC Hispanic Entrepreneurship Award, Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award, The Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sandra Day O'Connor Award to name a few.
In April 2013 Callejo was on hand for the dedication of Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School on Military Parkway in Pleasant Grove in Dallas.