87 Years Old
Our dad’s life belonged to the community. He believed in and worked for causes greater than himself. He was born in Bakersfield, Calif., the third of six children. His work ethic began as a young child working in the cotton fields of Bakersfield, doing his part to help support the family. He attended Garces, the first catholic high school in Bakersfield, and became student body president. This was the first sign of his natural born leadership.
Dad went on to earn a degree in bacteriology from UC Berkeley. Next, he joined the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Munich, Germany, and assigned as a dental technician. He returned to Bakersfield and married his high school sweetheart, our mom Colette (nee Quinlan) in 1956. The first three of their five siblings - Brigette, Marta and Carlos - arrived. Dad needed to be a little busier and decided to a acquire a degree in chemistry. The family moved to Berkeley and sister Susie was born. After earning his second degree from UC Berkeley he was employed by Kaiser Aluminum Research and we moved to San Jose. And that is when the last of the sibs, Dan, came along.
Dad’s desire to improve lives began when he was encouraged by friends in the Hispanic community in San Jose to join the EOC (Equal Opportunity Commission) and he began working with Cesar Chavez to help organize the migrant farm workers.
Kaiser Aluminum moved to Pleasanton in 1968 and we all moved to Livermore. Real Estate Agent and eventual lifelong friend Ray Herman found us the perfect home in St. Michael Parish, where we could all walk to St. Michael School. At St. Michael’s, dad became Parish Council President and a lector for both the Spanish and English masses. He was appointed by Pastor Father Robert Adams as one of the first Lay Ministers of Communion, along with his good friends Joe McCarthy and Herb Di Grazia. He and another good friend Randy Schlientz were appointed to the board of Interfaith Housing and dad became president. Interfaith Housing worked with HUD to complete three much-needed low-cost senior housing projects which are still integral parts of our community. Dad was also appointed to the Alameda County Grand Jury and became Foreman to oversee the famous Patty Hearst/SLA trials. He was a busy man.
Dad retired from Kaiser and, loving to learn, went back to school and earned his MBA from Saint Mary’s College. He and mom got into the restaurant business and opened El Lorito Restaurant. Mom managed the business. All the family worked there at one time or another, along with some of the grandkids. It was a real family business for 22 years.
Dad knew that mom and son-in-law Manuel Ramirez had the business under control and he decided to get his real estate license and went to work with Ray Herman at Vintage Realty. Son Dan eventually joined him there. Dad joined Livermore Rotary and became leader of the Tri-Valley Smoke Free Coalition resulting in the first smoke-free businesses in Livermore.
Dad lived an active life. He enjoyed bike riding and running, and he was a voracious reader of history and science books. He took up scuba diving and went diving in Mexico with son Carlos.
Sadly, dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2003. Dad and our brothers and son-in law Manuel built an in-law unit behind the original family home where Marta and Manuel now live. Mom and dad moved in. We all did what we could to care for dad at home, but in 2017 he was placed at Mocho Park Care Home where he was treated with loving kindness and dignity until his passing. Hope Hospice was so instrumental on his final day, and his last hours were peaceful. He received Last Rites and a blessing from Fr. Mark Wiesner, the Pastor at Saint Charles Borromeo, and was finally at rest with his family at the bedside.
Dad is survived by his wife Colette; children Brigette Hernandez, Marta (Manuel Ramirez), Carlos, Susanne and Daniel (Paula nee Smith); eight grandchildren Reina Alvarez (nee Hernandez), Peter Ramirez, Rhine Ramirez (Amanda nee di Giorgio), Sarah Flores, Nicholas Flores, Madeline Flores, Olivia Flores and Roen Flores; great-granddaughter Colette Ramirez; sisters Sr. Cecilia Flores O.P., Teresa Cartwright and Marion Wilson; sisters-in-law Georgia Quinlan and Cherie Flores; brother-in-law Stuart Quinlan; and many cousins, nieces, nephews and other family members here in the U.S. and in Mexico.
There will be a viewing at Callaghan’s Mortuary, 3833 East Ave., Livermore, on Monday, May 20, from 3-6 p.m. Celebration of Life Mass will be Tuesday, May 21, at 11 a.m. at Saint Michael Church, 458 Maple St., Livermore. Burial to follow at St. Michael Cemetery, 3885 East Ave., Livermore.