Editor’s note: This story is part of a series about Oklahomans who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the stories of other Oklahomans here. Have you lost a loved one to COVID-19? Help us tell their story.
Armando Rubio was a pioneer of Spanish-language media in Oklahoma. He served as Telemundo T30’s station manager. Oklahoma City-area viewers tuned in each week for Nuestra Oklahoma, a show he hosted on key issues in the local Hispanic community.
Rubio died of COVID-19 at age 73 on Feb. 18, 2021.
Rubio also volunteered and served on boards for several community organizations including the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army and the Capitol Hill Main Street.
The Latino Community Development Agency awarded him the Guardian Angel Excellence in Leadership Award in 2015 and the Oklahoma Media Network awarded him the Lifetime Achievement/Excellence in Media Award in 2017.
“He was really a man of service,” his son-in-law John Woods said. “So if there was something needed, he was there for it. And if there was something his community needed, he was there for it. I think he took a lot of pleasure in being a servant.”
Born on May 6, 1947, in El Paso, Texas, Rubio grew up in Juarez, Mexico. He registered for the U.S. Army in 1966 and was drafted a few months later.
When he got out of the Army he moved to California, where he married Margarita Garcia in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1972. He took a job at General Motors, which eventually led him to a job as an assembler at the company’s Oklahoma City plant in 1983.
Rubio and his wife had a son, Rigoberto Robles, and a daughter, Tania Woods, who they raised here.
Once in Oklahoma City, Rubio quickly recognized there was no Spanish-speaking media, so he set out to fill the gap and eventually got his license from the American Broadcasting School in Del City.
Wanting to become more involved in the community, he volunteered to help Hispanic people with their income taxes. He leased time from KTLR 890 AM, formerly KBYE, to do a radio show in Spanish out of his garage, selling ads and producing the show while still working full time for GM.
When Tyler Media launched a Spanish radio station, Rubio started working there part time. He went to the company full time in 2000 as it launched a TV station. At the same time, he retired from a 30-year career at GM.
Rubio mentored dozens — if not hundreds — of young people in their journalism careers and often spoke to youth about the importance of education, family members said.
“He was kind of always a man that was always full of encouragement,” Woods said.
Rubio is survived by his wife of 49 years, son, Rigoberto Robles and his wife Alicia; daughter, Tania Woods and her husband John; grandchildren, Abigail and Avery Robles, Miles Rosas, Ryan and Finley Woods; and brothers, Gabriel and Andres Rubio.
“He was just passionate about the community in Oklahoma,” Woods said. “And was just instrumental, I think, for bringing visibility and information to the Spanish community. He was proud and considered himself to be an Oklahoman.”