Mr. Alvin Frank Cordova

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Army Emblem

OCTOBER 4, 1924 - SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

A week before his 96th birthday, Alvin Frank Cordova passed away peacefully on September 28,
2020, surrounded by loving family at his home in Anaheim, California. Born in Los Angeles, Al
spent his earliest years in California before his parents wisely chose to return to the family ranch
in Mimbres, New Mexico. Here, while his sisters performed household chores, he and his brothers
turned laborious farm work into boyhood games, plowed the fertile soil with mules, hunted
for elk, deer, and wild turkeys with their father, and harvested chuchupate in the mountains to
soothe the family's ailments. Despite the Great Depression, Al's family prospered in Mimbres,
reaping the rewards of love for family and farm.

By 1938, the family returned to Los Angeles, where Al attended Roosevelt High School. Each
May, the family traveled to the Fresno area, where they picked apricots, peaches, and grapes to
supplement the family's income. Returning home in mid-October, Al shadowed a local barber,
who taught him to cut hair in exchange for sweeping and cleaning the barber shop. His ability to
cut hair was to become his lifelong career, enabling him to meet a variety of people—from astronauts
to baseball players—who became his dear friends.

In 1942 at eighteen years of age, Al enlisted in the Army to serve during WWII. His leadership,
marksmanship, and good old common sense propelled him to the rank of drill sergeant within a
matter of months. To his last days, he attributed his experiences growing up in New Mexico to
becoming a drill sergeant, a soldier who exemplifies excellence in entry training and Army values.

While packing to be deployed to parts unknown, Al was pulled aside and told to trade in his
warm weather uniform for a sealskin parka. In May through August 1943, Al participated in the
Battle of the Aleutian Islands, a grueling conflict to expel Japanese troops from US soil on the
islands of Attu and Kiska. Though 12,000 American troops outnumbered the Japanese forces,
American soldiers were scourged by 120 mile-per-hour icy winds, pelted by freezing rain, and
enveloped in blinding fog. With 3,800 casualties, including 549 deaths, the Battle of Attu was the
second deadliest battle in the Pacific in proportion to the number of troops engaged. But Al never
once complained of these hardships, for he was forever grateful for the opportunity to serve his

But life has its blessings. From the Aleutian Islands, Al was sent to Anniston, Alabama, where he
eventually met a beautiful blue-eyed blonde who was to become his wife. After being honorably
discharged from the Army, Al and Jeanne moved to Los Angeles and started their family. Their
marriage flourished for 72 years, until Jeanne's death in 2017.

During those 72 years, Al enjoyed his work as much as his relaxation. He opened barber shops in
both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. He learned carpentry and cabinet making, installing
barber shops from their bare walls out. At home, he loved his avocado, orange, and lemon trees,
as well as his rose garden, tending to them upon his mobility scooter until the last few days of his
life. Al, who had enjoyed numerous road trips around the country with his wife, was content just
to sit and look at their old photos and reminisce.

Al's greatest joy, however, was his family. His favorite saying was "I love you more," and indeed,
he was totally loving and devoted to us all. He is survived by his five children: Cheryl Darleen
Cordova of Anaheim, Linda Thiel of Temecula, Cathy Cordova Mero (Erick Mero) of North
Logan, UT, Jeff Cordova of Temecula, and Nancy Winters (Terry Winters) of Corona; six grandchildren:
John and Christopher Harwood, Nicholas Mero, and Joshua, Jacob, and Hannah Winters;
two great-granddaughters Eliza Harwood and Makayla Harwood; his brothers Ernest, Joe,
and Henry Cordova, and his sister Clorinda Montoya, along with nieces and nephews and their

Arrangements in the care of Forest Lawn Mortuary, Cypress.