Angel Manuel Alderete
Angel Manuel Alderete
  • July 25, 1929 - September 12, 2017
  • Novato, California

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Angel Manuel Alderete, a civil rights activist/organizer and retired Federal mediator, who played a leading role in the 1960s Chicano and civil rights movements, passed away on September 12, 2017 at the age 88.

Angel was born in Los Angeles, California on July 25, 1929. He was the first child of Carmen Avilez Alderete and Angel Manuel Alderete. Angel's father passed away when he was 2 years old. Angel's mother and abuelita, Maria Carmen Gardea, raised him and his sister, Carmen, in the Belvedere barrio of East Los Angeles.

As a child, Angel had an irascible spirit that his mother sought to tame by enrolling him at St. Anthony's Seminary. It came as a surprise to absolutely no one that Angel chaffed under the authority of the Franciscans. After two years, the Franciscans asked Angel to leave the seminary. Angel returned to East Los Angeles where he graduated from Cathedral High School.

After high school, Angel sought purpose and discipline in his life and enlisted in the United States Army in July 1948 as a Private First Class in the 26th Infantry Regiment. As an enlisted soldier, Angel spent three years in Germany and Italy at the conclusion of World War II and was honorably discharged in November 1952 as a Sergeant First Class. The Army awarded Angel the Army of Occupation Medal for his service.

When Angel returned to the Eastside, he became smitten with his long-time next door neighbor, Alicia de la Peña. Angel and Alicia enjoyed going to jazz shows in Hollywood. After dating for two years, Angel asked Alicia's father, Don Miguel, for Alicia's hand. They married on October 15, 1955 at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in East Los Angeles.

Angel soon began working at the Catholic Youth Organization while he attended East Los Angeles College. With the assistance of the G.I. Bill, Angel graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles.

In the first 10 years of marriage, Angel and Alicia were blessed with five wonderful children: Carl, Lita, Nina, John and Eric. The couple was committed and active in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement or El Movimiento and took their young family with them to protests and marches.

In 1970, Angel began working with the Community Relations Service where he remained for three decades. He was a professional mediator who worked to resolve conflicts between law enforcement and Latinos, Native American, African American, and other disenfranchised communities.

While Angel was certainly proud of his professional achievements, it was his wife, children, and grandchildren that provided his greatest joy. Angel and Alicia knew each other nearly their entire lives and were married for close to 62 years. They were, without question, soul mates. By action and word, Angel instilled in his five children righteousness, compassion, empathy and hard work. Angel was a tough task master in all things and exact with his words, which could be brutally honest. He pushed his kids to seek joy and purpose in their work.

Angel was loved by many. His survivors include his beautiful wife Alicia; his 5 children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren and great-grand child.

Memorial services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at Keaton's Redwood Chapel of Marin, 1801 Novato Blvd., Novato, CA 94947.

Arrangements under the direction of Keaton's Redwood Chapel of Marin, Novato, CA.