Ernest was born Nov. 29, 1921, in Tres Pinos, Calif., to Joseph P. and Dora (Villegas) Alvarado. He grew up with six brothers and two sisters. He attended Tres Pinos Elementary School, and graduated from San Benito High School in Hollister, Calif., in 1939.
He worked in the New Idria mines and at Bethlehem Steel, before moving to Alaska to work on the Al-Can highway. Ernest enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1944 in Fairbanks, Alaska. He served with the 464th Air Base Squadron. He was stationed on Amchitka Island in the Bering Strait.
Upon his return to California, he was employed driving truck in the San Joaquin Valley. He married Anna Mae Santos in November 1947 in Merced. In May 1963, Ernest was very proud to welcome his first child, Ramonda, into his life, followed by daughter, Valencia, in December 1964.
In 1968, Ernest and Anna Mae purchased a ranch in Oregon, and moved to Elkton in July 1969. Here, he and Anna Mae raised their daughters, sheep, cattle and hay while Ernest worked at the Drain Plywood Mill.
Ernest was from one of the families that were known as the “California Dons” – those Spanish settlers who received land grants from the king of Spain. He was a descendant of Joaquin Alvarado, first mayor of Monterey, and Juan Bautista Alvarado, a governor of California under the Spanish. His mother’s family, the Belardez, were famous throughout early California for their farming and sheep raising activities.
When Ernie’s daughters were at Elkton High, he was a supporter of their FFA activities. He received the Honorary State Farmer degree in 1984.
Ernest enjoyed big band swing music, old movies, reading, writing letters, and visiting with his grandchildren, nephews and nieces. He could be recognized wearing his black cowboy hat, with his faithful bud, Whacker, a yellow Labrador, at his side.
Ernest is survived by his daughter, Ramonda (David) Thompson; grandchildren, Maria, Risa, and Adam of Diamond; sisters, Margueritta Johnson of Antioch, Calif. and Julia Smith of Hollister, Calif.; many nephews and nieces on the Alvarado and Santos sides; and his bud, “Whacker.” Many thanks are given to his caregivers over the past five years, Barbara Dawes, Jon Stoneman, and Doug Byle.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Anna Mae; daughter, Valencia; brothers, William, Raymond, Percy, Clarence, Vincent, and Joseph; a baby sister, Frances; and his parents.
Services will be held Friday, March 27, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Roseburg.
Recitation of the Rosary will be held at 11 a.m., with Funeral Mass at noon. Burial will follow at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery in Roseburg.
Contributions in Ernest J. Alvarado’s memory may be made to Crane FFA Alumni Scholarship Fund, c/o Ramonda Thompson, 49401 Happy Valley Rd, Diamond, OR 97722.