SAN ANTONIO — Ray Olivarri served as the judge for the 144th district court. His term was set to end in 2022. Loved ones said he died after a battle with a rare form of cancer.
A longtime friend and colleague, 379th criminal district court judge Ron Rangel, shared more about his life. Rangel and Olivarri have been friends for 23 years. He described the judge as a compassionate public servant who was a man of integrity.
“He had a lot of sympathy for people that had drug and alcohol issues,” said Rangel. “He really cared about his role as a district judge. As judges, within our own group, we have to vote on certain things. We have to develop policies that we all have to agree on. Up until just a few weeks ago he was fully active.”
Rangel said Olivarri was also, a family man who was selfless. When Rangel's wife died from cancer, Olivarri never stopped showing his support.
“A year and a half ago my wife passed away. He was diagnosed with cancer about the same time,” recalled Rangel. “He showed nothing but concern for me.”
He also, recalled the judge’s joyful spirit and humor.
“I think for him? His purpose was to see people smile,” recalled Rangel. “He’s done a fabulous job as a father, husband, as a grandfather. And they do need to know that Ray is someone who will never be forgotten.”
225th District Court Judge Peter Sakai shared a statement with KENS 5 about his friend's death:
"Judge Ray Olivarri was a quiet and humble man who dedicated his entire life to public service. He was a hard working probation officer and compassionate judge. He truly cared for the people that he touched and worked with. He made a difference in our community. I will miss my dear friend and colleague. Vaya con Dios.”
The Bexar County district attorney, Joe Gonzales, shared his condolences as well.
“On behalf of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of the 144th District Judge Ray Olivarri. During his extensive career in the San Antonio legal community – which included service as a probation officer, criminal law practitioner and long-time member of the judiciary – Judge Olivarri will be remembered as an unwavering champion of justice, proponent of specialty courts and advocate for restorative justice. He will be sorely missed,” said Gonzales.
A retired district judge will likely fill in for the 144th district court until a new judge is voted in to fill the spot.