Born October 27, 1913 Died May 24, 2002
Phoenix, Arizona Lemon Grove, CA
The Alvarado/Alvarez ancestry dates back to the days of the Californianos. Their history, as “Californianos”, was prominent in the history of California and Arizona. They were the Rancheros of the 1700’s to the 1800’s who owned large land grants given to them by the Viceroys of Mexico and the King of Spain. For reasons not known, her Great Grandfather, Gregorio Alvarado left California and returned to Mexico were he sojourned for a while. Eventually he returned to North America. In his travels, he went to Arizona where he met Juana Lucero, who was part Yavapai Indian (Apache Nation) and Mexican. She was born in the early 1800’ in Wickenburg, Ariz.
In the late 1890’s, Gregorio and Juana Lucero Alvarado moved to the Phoenix era where they went into the cattle raising business. The 1900 census listed them as ranch owners. Among their offspring is listed Juanita Alvarado. It is noted that she entered this world on October 27, 1913.
After a few years of ranching, the Alvarado’s left Arizona and migrated to Calexico, California where they established the Alvarado Hotel. It was in Calexico that Juanita Alvarado would get her schooling. From kindergarten to high school, Juanita faithfully attended classes until she graduated from Calexico High School in 1930. It wasn’t long after that, she met and married Manuel de Jesus Alvarez. The Alvarado Hotel had become the family business and all the Alvarado and Alvarez members assisted in running the business.
In the period during the depression, Manuel and Juanita moved to San Diego and settled in the area now known as Little Italy. It was not long after that, that Manuel became employed on a local fishing boat and became a member of the local fishing fleet.
Juanita Alvarado Alvarez settled down to the duties and responsibilities of raising her four daughters. She was a devoted mother to her girls. Family and friends remember her for her friendly disposition. Often, the small vecindad in Logan Heights, where the family had moved to, would resound with the music from her piano. She would bring happiness to her neighbors whose days she would brighten with her singing. Juanita was happy and thankful for all that God had brought into her life.
It would not be until she was past middle age, that she went to work. Her husband had passed away and she needed to support her four girls. For a while she worked for the City of San Diego as a Senior Aide for the San Diego Seniors.
She went on to serve as an Information Guide at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park. Later she was to become a feisty advocate for the needs of San Diego’s senior population, as many a representative in the Assembly would recall.
After a few years of living in Barrio Logan and Golden Hills, Juanita had enough of the political representation that the poor received. She became politically involved. Juanita could be seen in voter registration drives, walking precincts, working on the political campaigns of those who she thought would bring change to the barrio. The campaigns of former Assemblyman Peter Chacon benefited from her support, as did former Congressman Lionel Van Deerlin, and assorted city and council and mayoral candidates.
Juanita raised her four daughters, two of which were twins, to become strong resourceful persons who never flinched in their duties and responsibilities to their own children. She encouraged them to go to college and go for the best. She was an example to all who where privileged to have known her. She was an example of what it meant to be a Madre de sus Hijos.
La Señora Juanita Alvarado Alvarez spent her last four days at the San Diego Hospice. She is survived by four daughters: Gloria Ruiz, San Diego, Sylvia Velazquez, Lemon Grove, Norma and Irma Alvarez, of Bonita. She is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Adele Casillas, Robert Ruiz, DeAnna Echeverria, Laurice Zamudio and Monica Freymiller of Lemon Grove, Manuel Ruiz Jr., San Diego, Tony Valazquez, Mt. Helix, Lisa Gonzales, Mira Mesa, Jeanne Renee Flinn, Poway, and Maria Bowers of Baltimore Maryland. She was also blessed with 26 Great Grandchildren and one Great, Great, Grandchild.
Father Eduardo Samaniego at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church said a Mass in her honor on Thursday, May 30, 2002. A Celebration of her life was held at the family residence in Lemon Grove. La Señora Juanita Alvarez requested she be cremated. Disposition of her ashes will take place at Greenwood Mortuary and Mausoleum at a later date.
Descanse en Paz al lado de Dios