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Manuel "Memo" Cavada Mural Project


Manuel “Memo” Cavada was born on May 3rd, 1944 in National City to Eloisa and Manuel Cavada. He grew up with his siblings Stella, Gina, Ofelia, Danny, Bobby, Joe and Rudy.  He graduated, as a proud Red Devil from Sweetwater HS in 1962. He joined the Air Force soon after graduation where he was crew chief of his own plane. While in Vietnam, he was injured during a bombing and subsequently saved his friend Frank Macias who also had been injured. For his bravery he was awarded the Purple Heart. After he left the Air Force, he attended Sacramento City College and graduated with a degree in Photography. He started his long lasting career as a photographer upon his return to San Diego. His role in this community was extensive.  He taught photography at El Centro Cultural de La Raza, worked with the MAAC project to teach children about alcoholism through a puppet show. He was the photographer for events with the Chicano Federation, MANA, the California Association of Bilingual Educators and MAAC. He photographed the seniors at Sweetwater HS for over 3 decades.  He also photographed many weddings, birthday parties and family events and as a result, he had amassed a pictorial history of the San Diego community. He is survived by his children  Stephenie, Martin and Jennifer and his grandchildren Joshu, Lukas, Jiyo and Lucia. 

Memo will be missed for the work in the community, and the beauty and grace

he bestowed to us in our daily lives.

Request for Proposal
Seeking Qualified Muralist
Application Deadline - August 30

The National City Chamber Foundation (NCF) is requesting proposals from qualified artists to create original public art for an outdoor environment that may incorporate various mediums such as paint and tile, repurposed, recycled or discarded materials, in honor of the life and legacy of National City community member Manuel “Memo” E. Cavada. The mural is to serve as a memorial to the National City documentarian, photographer, decorated veteran, youth advocate, community leader, and commemorate his contribution by capturing National City’s culture, local Chicano history, and images depicting his work and travels locally and abroad during his travels to Mexico. 

Please submit any questions to

To learn more about Memo, the scope of work, and how to apply, please click the button below.  

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