(The following was distributed last night at the Rosary and today at the Funeral Services of my friend Frank Alvarado)
Houston lost an unsung hero on February 11, 2009 with the passing of one of the East End’s most beloved gentleman, longtime Manchester resident Frank Alvarado. Frank leaves family, friends, and admirers who always looked up to him as a caring, compassionate, and strong individual. Frank was 79 years of age.
Frank Alvarado’s journey began on October 4, 1929 in Marble Falls, Texas. He moved to Houston at an early age and met his true love Ida Melchor. Frank and Ida married on June 12, 1947 at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. They always affectionately referred to each other as “Bunny.”
Frank and Ida shared a home in Houston's East End for over 61 years, beginning in Denver Harbor, moving to Magnolia Park and finally the Manchester neighborhood where they have resided in the same house for the last 54 years.
Frank had 5 children: Frank Jr., Yolanda, Robert, Elizabeth, and Carol. They had six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Upon his arrival in Houston, Frank mastered the cement masonry trade, a trade he excelled in for 62 years. He was a proud member of the Plasterers and Cement Mason Local 681. Frank’s skill left an indelible mark on our city’s landscape as he led the laying of the foundation for Houston’s most notable structures including the Texas Children’s, St. Luke’s, Methodist and Hermann Hospitals, the University of Houston, Finger’s Furniture, and the Tranquility Park garage.
Frank’s experience in laying a foundation also included the raising of his family which was based on hard work, responsibility, faith, and importance of family. It was a foundation that served the Alvarado family well.
Throughout his life, Frank worked long hours but never complained. His devotion to his trade allowed him to pay for his children’s higher education and enjoy the fruits of a middle class livelihood.
A student of current events, Frank encouraged his children to read the newspaper and watch the evening newscasts. He and Ida never missed an election and participated regularly in Democratic Party precinct and senatorial conventions. Frank also volunteered in countless campaigns including those of his daughter Carol, Mayors Bob Lanier, Lee Brown and Bill White, State Representative Al Luna, Councilman James Rodriguez, Congressman Gene Green, and Constable Victor Trevino. Frank could be counted on to go door to door, hand out cards at the polling locations, and put out campaign signs. Frank and Ida’s example has been the catalyst for the children and other family members to engage in civic responsibility.
Frank had many proud moments in his life, such as: watching Frank Jr. play in championship basketball games; when Yolanda was first to graduate from college; witnessing Bobby hit numerous home runs playing little league baseball; enjoying the trips Liz organized for the family; and when Carol was first elected to the Houston City Council and recently sworn into the Texas House of Representatives.
Frank’s joyful moments in life were many, but he particularly savored the family and friend gatherings at his home for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions.
A devoted parishioner of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, which was located next door to Frank and Ida’s home, Frank could always be counted on to lead the barbecue cooking at church bazaars, benefits and wedding receptions. Frank was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus Council #4577.
A most loyal Astros fan, Frank regularly watched games and particularly enjoyed the occasions when he had the opportunity to sit with Astros owner Drayton McLane behind home plate at Minute Maid Park.
Until recently, Frank and Ida always stayed active together whether it was as regulars at St. Patrick’s Church “Young at Heart” events, at St. Alphonsus for the “Golden Agers”, or going to “Old Timers Club” gatherings. Frank was also a regular at the local YWCA where he worked out. When Parkinson’s disease became a part of Frank’s life, as a form of therapy, Frank resorted to painting.
As his incredible journey here on God’s great earth ends, one can only be amazed at this quiet individual who only completed a third grade education yet taught himself how to read by reading the newspaper. Never one to brag about himself, his work is a part of our everyday lives here in Houston. In an era where the family structure is so often scrutinized, Frank’s family is a beacon for hope. In a time when many of our leaders are calling for a renewal of civic responsibility, instilling a sense of civic duty defined Frank and his family.
God Bless You Frank.