Aurelio "Al" Alcantar was born January 22, 1923, to a poor family in Juarez, Mexico. As a young boy, he would read to his mother and taught her to write her name shortly before she died. By the age of eight, Aurelio had lost both parents. He and his siblings were left to care for each other. He started shining shoes, picking watermelons and packing ice cream to help provide for the family. |
A self made man, he graduated from Calexico High School where he played football and basketball. He was an avid boxer; even being recruited as a Golden Gloves Contender. He began his career as a junior accountant after he graduated. However, duty and opportunity called; and as always, Al answered.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army February 19, 1943. He was sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America at Mays Landing before being deployed to fight in World War II in the South Pacific with the 424th Bomb Squadron. He earned the rank of First Sergeant. Aurelio received: Good Conduct Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, Victory Medal and was Honorably Discharged December 2, 1945.
Al continued his civilian life as an accountant, a lifelong profession and passion he would continue until he passed away.
He married Mary Veytia and began his family with children, Marco, Mario, Martha, Susan, Marie and Sandra. They lived in Imperial Beach, California, where Al established himself as a businessman and even ran for City Council. Perhaps before his time and before Latinos held office; he ran a close race.
After the death of his wife, Mary, he continued to raise his family in San Diego, California.
Al met his wife, Patricia Barnes, while coaching softball for his daughters. Patricia and Al had one daughter, Aurelia. Also adding to his family were his step-children, Pamela and Peter Shelley.
Al cherished his Mexican culture and Catholic faith. He gave back to his community, teaching citizenship classes to those looking to better their futures. He was a respected member of the Lion's Club of San Diego.
Al loved his Country and was an outstanding citizen. He believed in the American Dream and was living proof it exists and is possible.
Al was prideful; he believed in family, honor, hard work and devotion. All things he strived to leave as his legacy.
Aurelio Alcantar passed from this life July 14, 2013, surrounded by his family. We pray the Virgin De Guadalupe protect and guide his passage. May his Eternal Light burn brightly.
Published in the Ramona Sentinel on July 25, 2013