Eva Torres-Chavez, was the 12th of 12 children born in the Membres Valley of New Mexico on June 5th, 1918. It was a rainy day on the Solis Family Ranch, when her Mother and Father Francisco and Andrea Torres welcomed her to a influenza struck year. For the first five years of her life, Eva remembered spending time with her sisters as they looked after her until the age five, when her mother sent her sisters to California to find husbands and establish a life of their own. In 1923, her sister Annie lead the way to California followed by Dora and Esther until Eva and her mom arrived by rail in Boyle Heights, CA. Eva, excited to be reunited with her siblings, recalled how upset her brother Julian was that they had to leave Dad, Procopio, Tony, and the Ranch to start a new life in California.
Eva, who was close to her siblings, learned about public transportation at an early age. Visiting Minnie, Ida, and Harriet at the Forsythe Boarding School by way of bus and electric car on Sundays, prepared her for schooling of her own. Eva entered Euclid Street School followed by Hollenbeck Jr. High where she met her best friends Tonie, Corrine, Charlotte, and Caroline. The girls loved being with each other and often recalled Roosevelt High School days. During the summer time, Eva spent time with her father, brothers, aunts, cousins, and Niece Julia by visiting the family ranch for the length of the summer. Getting to know her father and his ways, Eva and Julia swam, rode horses, milked cattle, and learned about ranch life.
Back at home, Eva often baby sat her nieces and nephews and really enjoyed doing so. She became very found of each cousin in their own unique way. One of Eva’s best friends lived across the street from the Chavez family and casually met the neighbor’s daughter Alvina. Eva remembers finding out that Alvina’s brother was Lupe and how distracted she was to hear that Lupe found Eva to be so cute. Eva refused to take part in any of this. She was too busy having fun with her girlfriends listening to Big Bands, socializing, and didn’t want to be held down by any boy. It wasn’t until 1937 when Alvina approached Eva letting her know that her brother Lupe wanted to escort Eva to the Senior Prom. “Oh no,” she thought, “He can’t even dance.” Tonie assured her that they would teach him how and that they did in the living room floor of Tonie’s parents home. The two hit it off and eventually began dating, traveling to Mt. Baldy, and on August 10, 1939, married. They had no official wedding, party, and her mother didn’t even attend. It was a small ceremony after the rosary when the two join hands and vowed though sickness and health to take care of each other until death do part. Her sister Minnie was her maid of honor and supported her on this special occasion as did Lupe’s family and their friends. “He was a good man, Eva thought, “hard working, smart, a family man, and a heck of an uncle.”
During the early years of Marriage, Eva worked at the Bruin Uniform Company with her friend Tonie. She worked until 1940 the birth of her first-born Steven and a year later in 1941, welcomed hers and Lupe’s second child Eugene Andrew. In the mid 40’s, Lupe was diagnosed with a brain tumor and how very scared she became. The thoughts of raising two boys on her own sent Eva doctor to doctor looking for the perfect physician and yet she did. It wasn’t until she read the newspaper one day when she discovered a doctor suitable for handling the situation. Lupe underwent surgery and Eva found herself supporting the family with the help of her brother Tony. She enrolled in trade school as a dental assistant and supported the young family. Lupe recovered and went back to work, as did Eva until the birth of their third Rebecca Andrea. In 1953, their family became complete.
Eva went on raising three children with no drivers licence and continued working at various dental and oral surgical offices. Summer time meant family fun. Although Eva never drove, she and Lupe knew how to pack just so. Making sure they had all the essentials, taught the children early on, that planning was important. Miles of non air conditioned memories were spent in the old Dodge covering highways to Canada, Yosemite, Oregon, and New Mexico.
Wedding bells soon rang as Eva’s oldest boy graduated High School and found true love. Lupe and Eva always said, “since we didn’t have a large wedding, we want our kids to have the wedding we missed out on. Steven and Esperanza wed on April 28, 1962 at the family’s parish. While Steven and Espie began a new life together, Eva and Lupe continued to raise 1 young adult and 1 young lady. Eugene focused on studies while Becky entered, grade school. In 1968 after graduating from Community College, Eugene married Maria-Elena bringing in the first grandchildren Gino and Joseph. How she loved them so. A few years later, Steven and Espie welcomed two children of their own, James and John making a total of 4 grandsons. Eva loved being surrounded by her grandsons and often accompanied her husband while he entertained the grandchildren at Travel Town. In 1974, Eva and Lu spread their wings one last time giving their daughter Rebecca her wings to marry. Eva and Lupe retired and focused on their children and grandsons while Becky and Mike waited patiently for their first born. Michael another grandson was born in late 1976 and the Chavez crew grew into a family of 13. Jason soon followed and in 1985 Eva had her first granddaughter Carrie. Eva and Lupe supported the grandsons by attending Gino, Joseph, Jim, and John’s school functions and in the late 80’s saw the boys migrate into young men.
Eva and Lupe celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary and continued to vow one another though sickness and health.
Eva looked after her aging siblings as they grew older and one by one lent a helping hand doing what was only natural. Her sister Harriet passed in 1966, followed by Annie in 1973, Minnie in 1984, Julian 1990, Dora 1992, Tony 1996, Lucy 1998, Ida 2000 and Esther in 2002. Eva became an only child. Her and Lupe looked after the rest of the grandchildren and watched as their youngest grandchildren grew. Lupe passed and Eva decided to sell their Los Angeles home and move closer to her daughter. She really enjoyed her new place in Rancho Cucamonga and became far more independent. She often socialized with other tenants taking part a rosary group and holiday parties. Eva became very fond of her Nieces: Gloria, Virginia, Yvonne, Lucille, and often had many great talks with the girls. Great-grandchildren soon arrived and how excited she was getting to know James, Johns, Gino’s, and Joseph’s new additions .Eva spent her remaining years in her Rancho Cucamonga and Claremont residences until the lord called her name and asked her to come home.
(taken from obituary)