This evening I was watching "Saving Mr Banks" and it made me think about my recently passed away friend Joe Alvarez. Joe and I met three years ago during one of my wife's and I's trips out and about in Rancho Sante Fe (specifically a little place called Dolce). Joe was a very friendly guy and over several months we got to know Joe really well. He loved his red wine, and of course flirting with Lidiya (but harmless of course). Over those few months, I found that Joe had just lost his mother Maria a few months before. He proceeded to let me know she was co-owner in the first Television station in Tulsa, OK. In addition, she fronted a lot of the money for the Disneyland Hotel (hence why I remembered Joe tonight). As you can read in one of the links below, Mr. Disney had leveraged all the money he could to build Disneyland, so he turned to Joe's mom and her business partner to build the hotel. Here is a picture of Joe's mom, Maria, manning a TV camera for her TV station KOTV. For those of you that live in Oklahoma today, you still watch KOTV:
Here is a picture of her at the opening of the Disneyland Hotel:
You can read more about this incredibly smart Oklahoman woman here:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Wrather (link about her business partner, but mainly about her)
After I did all this research on Joe's mom, I brought it up about how cool his mom was one night. He appreciated it and we talked about all his time growing up in Oklahoma. After all, Joe had been born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma before his mother sold the TV/Radio station and moved to San Diego. When Joe brought up his mom, I told Joe I was born and raised in Oklahoma as well, and needless to say, there is a bond between fellow Oklahoma's similar to that of the bond people have to their country (for example, all you watching the USA in the worldcup). After we realized we were both born and raised in Oklahoma, we became really good friends.
We met Joe's lovely wife and his daughter Kennedy on a few occasions, both very lovely people. We also went to Joe's house a few times, he had this really cool and massive collection of Harry Jackson bronze sculpture cowboys. They were everywhere, small ones, medium ones and really big ones, all of them, prominently placed in a way that just made you ache for Oklahoma. And they did, every time at his house, it brought back tons of memories for me in growing up in Oklahoma. Joe was such a friendly guy. He invited us on more than a few occasions to sit at his finish line table at the Del Mar Racetrack (Joe was the longest standing member of the racetrack after his mother). It was awesome walking and hanging out with Joe as he was so nice and everyone liked him. He invited us to his friends houses (some of them incredibly extravagant, yet, all down to earth amazing people). One fond memory I'll never forget, is competing against Joe with his horse picking skills and challenging him to see who could lose the less or make the most money at the track. He broke under the pressure and I won…it was quite the victory, as he could read the horse stats like no one I have ever met!
I learned of Joe's death a couple weeks after it happened (I didn't get to go to the funeral, and I didn't get to say anything, which probably bummed me out more than anything). Some of you may have seen the tweets. It was one of the saddest feelings knowing that two special Oklahoman's (Joe and his mom), and one of my friends, had passed away leaving the rest of us Oklahoma's to lead the way in this world. I know those last few years of hanging out with Joe, he enjoyed us being around and coming over to our house for our parties. Joe had a pretty amazing life himself, as you can read in this article, he hung out with some pretty amazing people and had a lot of cool stories (and yeah, he even talked about fish a couple of times):
This blog post is to you and your mom Joe, rest in peace my friend. I'll try to hold the fort down…