Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet

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Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet (October 27, 1929 - September 19, 2009) was a Cuban-born entrepreneur and businessman who founded the Sazón Goya Food Company.[1] Ortega, who was nicknamed "Pepe", was known as "El Gallego" to his friends.[1]

Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet was born in Havana, Cuba, on October 27, 1929. He attended the Belen Jesuit School, which had been founded by the Jesuits in Havana in 1854.[1] Ortega graduated from the University of Havana with a business science degree.[1] When he was still relatively young, Bonet began working at a food distribution company called F. Bonet y Cía after the death of his father.[1] He soon launched his own business. Ortega founded the first automobile air-conditioning business in Cuba.[1]

Ortega married his wife, Lucila Galvis Gómez-Plata, a Colombian student studying in Havana, in April 1954.[1] The couple had two children during their marriage, María Elena and José Antonio Ortega Jr.[1] The family left Cuba in 1960[1] following the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro. They briefly moved to Lucila's native Colombia before settling in Puerto Rico in 1963.[1]

Ortega launched a new food business in Puerto Rico. This business would eventually become the Sazón Goya Food Company under a partnership with the Unanue family, who owned Goya Foods.[1]

Ortega and his family moved to Miami, Florida, in 1976.[1] Once in Miami, Ortega continued to run Sazón Goya, expanding its products into new markets in the United States with the growth of the Hispanic population throughout the country.[1] Ortega continued to head his company until his death in 2009.[1]

Ortega devoted his time to philanthropy, especially in the Miami area. He devoted time and money to a number of local institutions, including Mercy Hospital, the José Martí scholarship program, the League Against Cancer and the Centro Mater Foundation.[1]

Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet died of cancer at his home in Coral Gables, Florida, on September 19, 2009, at the age of 79.[1] His funeral was held at the Epiphany Parrish, and he was buried in Woodlawn Park North Cemetery in Miami.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Munoz, Viviana (2009-09-19). "Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet, Founder of Sazón Goya foods". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2009-09-30. [dead link]

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