Alvarez, Carlos Hidalgo, 85, a businessman and the beloved husband and companion of Emma (Morelos) Alvarez, passed away peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones on March 16, 2013 in Orange. Born in Lamar, Colorado, February 25, 1928, he spent most of his life in Orange County, California.|
Carlos's remarkable success can be, in part, attributed to the humble beginnings of his early childhood in "Hick's Camp," a barrio in El Monte, California, a place he never forgot. Carlos was described as being an industrious child and was helpful by nature. Raised in San Juan Capistrano, he excelled in high school by his academic and athletic success and was Class President at San Juan Capistrano Union High School.
Carlos served in the Army and was stationed in Japan after World War II, during the Occupation. There, he developed an appreciation of Japanese culture and art. Returning to the U.S., Carlos moved to Santa Ana and worked at the West Coast Surplus Store near the Yost Theater where Emma worked. They met and married in 1950.
In 1956, with $1,500.00 Carlos opened the Army Navy Store in downtown Orange. An astute businessman, the store grew into two storefronts and was one of the first Orange County retail stores to carry Levis.
The Army Navy Store was popular throughout the county. Loyal store customers ranged from families planning camping trips to surfers who bought St. Christopher medals to old timers who brought their sterling silver watches for sale on consignment in the showcases. Fishing equipment, sporting goods, guns and ammunition made the store a feast for shoppers. In addition to the retail store, Carlos and his brother, Tony drove to Bracero (worker) camps throughout Orange County in a blue station wagon and sold socks, gloves and work clothes to the field workers during the Bracero Program Era. It was a welcome service for the workers.
During these busy years, Carlos continued to play basketball and baseball with the Guadalupe League, a Mexican American sports league. The teams played at the Santa Ana YMCA, Santiago Park and throughout the county. His interest in sports never wavered. He was a member of Mexican American Golf Association (MAGA) and was a good golfer. Carlos, Emma and the family watched nearly every Laker game and followed all sports. Their daughter and three sons attended Mater Dei High School where the sons played football, something Carlos and Emma enjoyed immensely.
Carlos had a deep love of nature. He took his wife and four children camping in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite every year for a two-week vacation. A fisherman, he displayed his patience when untangling the fishing lines of his young children at Ellery Lake, Tioga Lake and Tuolumne River. When talking about the hours spent untangling lines, he recently said, "It is what fathers do."
After establishing the successful business in Orange, Carlos sold his partnership in the store and opened the Rancho Army Navy Store in Temecula. He and Emma bought a home in Los Ranchitos that came with six sheep, which they loved to care for. The couple loved to travel. They visited Europe, Mexico and Canada several times. Switzerland and Germany became their "favorite" countries.
Always a good businessman, Carlos began investing in real estate in the 1960s throughout Orange County and built a small empire. Carlos exemplified the American dream. Despite his success, Carlos remained a remarkably humble man and was genuinely loved by all who knew him.
Retirement came in the 2000's when Carlos slowed down and handed the business over to the sons. Carlos and Emma moved to Orange County to be near their family.
"My grandpa was a good man. He showed unwavering sincerity and true compassion. He had a keen sense of humor and was a role model. He proved that success can be achieved and humility can be maintained. And in the end, he insisted that we make sure to "enjoy life." I will forever try to be as good of a man as my grandpa was." - grandson, Ramon Marzolo
"Carlos was a caring father to my brothers and me. He instilled many values that I continue to carry with me today. I will miss my father tremendously." - daughter, Yolanda Alvarez
Carlos is survived by his loving wife of 63 years Emma, along with their daughter Yolanda, their sons, Arthur, Robert and Richard, his sister, Alice, his brother, George, nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and numerous loving nieces and nephews. Carlos was preceded in death by his parents, Carlota and Miguel Alvarez and brother Tony Alvarez.
The Funeral Service begins with the Rosary/Vigil which will take place this Friday evening, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Shannon-Bryan Mortuary at 137 East Maple Street in downtown Orange. (714) 771-1000.
The Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 A.M., Saturday, March 23 at Holy Family Cathedral, 566 South Glassell Street, Orange. (714) 639-2900.
He will be buried at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery following Mass,
7845 E. Santiago Canyon Road, Orange. (714) 532-6551.
Published in Orange County Register on Mar. 21, 2013