Luis Alcantara, a Group Vice President at Toyota Motor North America and resident of Northern Kentucky, passed away from complications due to pancreatic cancer on November 22, 2019 at the young age of 53. Luis is survived by his wife, Lori Alcantara; his three children, Elena, Marco and Ana; and by Gabriela Alcantara-Diaz (sister), Manuel Diaz (brother-in-law), Isabella Rodriguez (niece) and Alex Rodriguez (husband), Sebastian Diaz (nephew), and Nick Dalessio (brother-in-law).
A self-made man who came from humble beginnings, Luis was born in Uruguay and immigrated to Miami, Florida at the age of 4 with his parents who were seeking a better life for their family. Luis grew up in Florida and later attended Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. After graduation, Luis started his illustrious career in the automotive industry. Luis joined Toyota Motor North America in 1991 as an engineering specialist. Luis spent the majority of his career in the body engineering group. Through hard work and sheer determination, he rose though the managerial ranks in body engineering, serving as assistant manager, manager, assistant general manager and general manager, vice president, and most recently became the Group Vice President of Vehicle Production Engineering for Toyota Motor North America. As Group Vice President, he was responsible for new vehicle introductions across Toyota’s North American vehicle assembly plants and led a team of over 800 dedicated colleagues. He and his team managed all new vehicle process planning, equipment procurement, construction and installation, including safety, quality and productivity confirmation prior to handover to manufacturing operations.
In addition to his career at Toyota, Luis had many passions and was dedicated to helping others achieve success. He was a very proud alumnus of Florida State University and travelled all over the country to cheer on his beloved Noles’ football team. He always gave of his time freely and volunteered on many committees and boards. Most recently, Luis was selected to be one of just six new business leaders for the highly coveted United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board of directors, an organization that promotes economic growth and the interests of over 4.37 million Hispanic-owned businesses. He was very humbled and honored by this selection.
Luis also supported many schools such as the University of Kentucky engineering program. He gave numerous speeches to high school and college students alike. During one speech at the Hispanic Engineering Science Technology student leadership day, he shared the advice that he lived by: “You can’t control when the opportunities will present themselves, but what you can control is how prepared you are when opportunity knocks. Champion yourself, take risks, volunteer. And those opportunities will pay off for you.” Luis always believed in pushing himself and others to do their very best through his leadership and always commanded the respect of his colleagues, friends and family through his humility and integrity. Luis always had a heart full of gratitude and wanted to help others achieve the same American Dream that he and his family were blessed to experience.
Above all, however, Luis was a devoted and loving husband, father, brother, uncle and friend. His lifelong goal was to provide an even better life for his family than he was blessed to experience, just as his own parents had done for him. His amazing moral compass, work ethic, and determination to succeed made him a true role model and inspiration for his adoring family.
No Visitation. Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at St. Agnes Church. Eulogy at 5:30 pm. Mass at 6:00 pm. Reception will follow at The Gardens of Park Hills. Middendorf Funeral Home in Ft. Wright (859) 341-7800 is handling the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for memorial donations to: Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, 415 Crossways Park Drive, Suite D, Woodbury, New York 11797; (866) 789-1000; www.lustgarten.org.