Cadena was born to Raul Y. Cadena and Carmen Gastelum in El Paso, Texas where he graduated from Riverside High school at the top of his class. He received an undergraduate degree in sociology from Harvard University in 1989, and a law degree from U. C. Berkeley Boalt School of Law in 1993.
After first practicing law in Austin, Texas, Raul moved to San Diego in 1996 where he developed an expertise in employment law working at San Diego law firms. In 2000, he met Kristen Churchill, also a lawyer. The two were married in 2003, and made their home in the Mission Beach community of San Diego.
Their partnership produced two beloved children: Julian (now 11) and Isabel (now 9), and a law firm: Cadena Churchill LLP, formed in 2004, where Raul’s practice focused on representing employees in individual and class action cases.
As a mediator, Raul successfully resolved cases for over a decade, most recently as a member of The West Coast Resolution Group, a division of The National Conflict Resolution Center. He was actively involved with Consumer Attorneys of San Diego Inc., and in 2014, served as its president.
At the time of his passing, Raul sat on the board of California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. (CRLA), an organization near to his heart. He often collaborated with CRLA staff attorneys to seek justice for migrant farm workers and others served by that organization.
Raul was an active member of St. Andrew’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Pacific Beach, and was very involved in his children’s school, Crown Point Jr. Music Academy, where he served as PTO president and was instrumental in ensuring the survival of the school’s music program.
Raul is survived by his wife, Kristen, his son Julian, his daughter, Isabel, his mother, Carmen, his father, Raul, his sisters, C. Beatrice and Angelica, and his nephews and nieces, Matthew, Mason, Madeline, Meredith, Marissa and Delaney.
Services were held June 18 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Ave. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. (CRLA), 1430 Franklin St., Suite 103, Oakland, CA 94612.