NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Singer, songwriter, poet and artist are just some of the many hats Louis Gilbert Sepúlveda wore well, and wore with pride.
“His style was uniquely his own and he was very outgoing, and never met a stranger,” Dan Helland said.
Sepúlveda 86, passed away peacefully of natural causes on July 30, 2020. He was being visited and comforted by family members at Tennessee State Veteran’s Home, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Sepúlveda was born on December 13, 1933 in Puerto Rico. He served in the U.S. Air Force and the Korean War.
One of his biggest passions was music. It’s why he adored Nashville so much.
Retired photographer Dan Helland had a 25 year friendship with him.
“We first met at a reception down on Music Row. I think he had an office in the same building,” Helland said.
Sepúlveda was a pioneer and made history in the Music City. He was the first Hispanic person to perform at the Ryman Auditorium and he loved to paint and draw. Going by his artist name Gil Veda, he would oftentimes draw portraits of notable people, from musicians to politicians and creative portraits.
“Gilbert was someone who was very, very unique. He had this way to grab yourself. Grab your attention. And, he had so many stories about his life and all of his accomplishments and everything that he’s done in life,” Loraine Segovia Paz said.
Lorraine Segovia Paz met Sepúlveda when she first came to this country. She says he always gave back to the community, serving on the Board for the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and NAHCC Foundation for several years.
“When you see someone that speaks your language that is able to communicate with you, that is able to understand the struggles that you go through. That is able to see the needs in your community….you’re able to empathize with that person, and connect with that person to be that is very important,” Segovia Paz said.
As family and friends prepare to say farewell, they know his music, legacy and his imprint on the music city will live on through his voice and every portrait he’s ever made.