Albert Y. Torres
Passed away on July 1, 2019
Our Dad, “Al”, was born 1931 in Sonora, Arizona to Alberta and Telesforo Torres. He was the ninth of ten children. The family moved to Mesa, Arizona and subsequently to Coachella, California where they worked seasonally as migrant farm workers throughout the Central Valley and the southern Bay area. Attending school and making friends outside of the family was difficult due to their many moves that followed the harvesting seasons of crops. From his parents, Dad learned the value of family, work, education, compassion, and the Catholic faith. These humble beginnings and life experiences resulted in him adopting a strong work ethic, commitment to helping others, honesty, a love of nature/animals, and a dedication to family and country. Al attended elementary and middle schools in Coachella. The Torres family later moved to the Santa Clara Valley with its wonderful climate and plentiful fruit orchards. They pooled their money and bought their first fruit orchard on Pomeroy Ave in Santa Clara. The family later bought orchard ranches in Cupertino and Sunnyvale.
Al graduated from Bellarmine High School and also attended Santa Clara University where he attained a Bachelor’s degree in Business. One Sunday, he drove his family’s light blue Buick to pick up his family from church and was spotted by our mother, “Betty” Amos. Father Kern, SJ introduced him to our mother. It was love at first sight for both. The Torres and Amos families became close friends and enjoyed many parties with music, dancing, singing, croquet, and horseshoes on the Torres Ranch. In 1953, Dad married our Mom at St. Leo’s Catholic Church in San Jose. At the time Dad was a junior at Santa Clara University. While at Santa Clara University Dad joined the ROTC. When he graduated in May 1954, he went into the U.S. Army serving as a 2nd Lieutenant during the Korean War. Dad was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and Fort Lewis, Washington. During his service he was promoted to a 1st lieutenant and his specialty was training recruits in artillery and surveying. He even learned to fly small planes. In July 1954, their first son, Mark, was born. In 1956 Steven was born, followed by Catherine in 1959 and Elizabeth in 1966, all delivered at O’Connor Hospital.
After leaving the military, Dad and Mom returned to the family ranches. They soon moved to San Jose and rented a duplex on Genevieve Avenue. Next they purchased their first and forever home on Kenwood Avenue. Dad began working for Surety Title Insurance in San Jose. He started at the entry level and quickly proceeded to learn the business and develop a recognized expertise. He took a risk by joining a small team to start a new company called California Land Title Company. His children remember that he left for work before they woke up and frequently returned after they had gone to bed. He was very proud of this company and was dedicated to its success and all his employees. It was important to him that his employees have job security, a good wage, profit sharing, good health insurance, and that the company morale was high. California Land Title Company became the largest title insurance company in the Bay Area and in 1984 relocated its main headquarters to a new site occupying a six floor building on The Alameda. Later, the Company name changed when it was purchased and joined Old Republic Title Company.
Our home was filled with love and laughter. It was the home that our friends loved to hang out because our parents welcomed all. Dad supported Mark and Steven’s friends by purchasing a large camping tent for them to use at Pinnacles National Park. He was always available to pick them up and shove their bikes in the trunk of the station wagon after their long, poorly planned bike rides that included driving 30 miles to save them from rainy weather. He supported music and art in the home. He didn’t object when Mark painted walls or ceilings with art. He praised Steven’s woodworking and guitar/banjo playing. He attended Catherine’s gymnastic tournaments, dance performances, and piano concerts. He gave daily car rides to Elizabeth and friends to High School for 4 years in his beloved SAAB. He made everyone sing along to the country radio station. He had an incredible sense of humor and joked with our friends endlessly.
Both Dad and Mom emphasized the importance of education, and their support for this is reflected by all his children attaining advanced graduate degrees in their chosen fields. After retiring in 1997, Dad filled his time doing road trips with mom, going to the beach, gardening, walking his dogs, visiting with neighbors, reading, caring for backyard critters, and playing with his grandchildren. Dad started a new hobby of painting with acrylics. His grandchildren remember watching grandpa make his famous salsa and special breakfast eggs. They remember him making wooden toys with his tools. They remember shopping trips, trips to the ocean, watching old TV shows, digging for treasure in the backyard, and watching the Golden State Warrior games on TV. They also remember the famous Easter egg hunts with cash filled eggs. Grandpa attended all school assemblies and performances. He enjoyed taking Mom to crafts fairs mostly so he could visit the food booths while she browsed.
Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th Anniversary surrounded by family on a cruise to Alaska. They were so happy to celebrate their anniversary this way. They enjoyed excursions to Alaska parks in which their son Steven acted as our private biologist guide. It was a happy celebration full of laughs and cheerful memories.
Mom and Dad’s 63-year marriage was a model example of a happy, loving relationship. It was this example that led their children to find exceptional spouses; Steven to Alison, Catherine to Brian, and Elizabeth to Keith. Both our parents were especially proud of Mark when he celebrated his first mass as a Jesuit priest at the Mission Santa Clara church. Dad adored his grandchildren Anna, Emily, Daniel, Mateo, Jenny, and Sarah.
In 2016, his beloved wife passed away after a period of convalescence and dementia. Dad demonstrated ultimate devotion, love, and commitment by caring for Mom long after she no longer remembered us. Although brokenhearted, Dad continued to project optimism when interacting with others, and while walking and visiting neighbors with his dog Bisbee. He also enjoyed his nightly routine of eating dinner at Mio Vicino restaurant in Santa Clara. The staff were so kind in lifting his spirit with conversation and good food. Dad made friends with the owner, manager, hostesses, waiters, cooks, and busboys. He always remembered their birthdays.
During Dad’s final days at home, we all worked together to give him the care and love that he taught us. Even while in hospice Dad shared pearls of wisdom, told us that he loved us, and to be happy. He emphasized that we should always celebrate being together. He talked about wanting people with divergent points of view to take pause and work toward a better understanding of each other. He emanated positivity and blessed us all. He led a life that personified goodness and taught by example how to make the world a better place. Now, Dad is forever reunited with his beloved wife, our mom.
Rosary service will be on Monday July 8 at 7 PM at Lima Family Santa Clara Mortuary. Funeral mass will be on Tuesday July 9 at 10:00 AM at St. Martin of Tours Church in San Jose.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Homeboy Industries of Los Angeles at homeboyindustries.org.
- Homeboy Industries
- Visitation Monday, July 8, 2019
- Rosary Monday, July 8, 2019
- Funeral Mass Tuesday, July 9, 2019
- Entombment Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Albert Y. Torres
July 8, 2019
I knew Al briefly through my wife Donna who started at Cal Land in the late 70s and works for ORT to this day. I too worked at CLT for a brief stint.
Al was a very special human being with obvious compassion for all. He always smiled infectiously and was a joy to be around. I have never heard a bad word spoken about this man; he was loved by all who knew him; an exemplary person. GODSPEED AL
Chuck and Nancy Mirrasoul
July 7, 2019
Patience, kindness , generosity. Only a few words to describe Al. You are forever loved, dear man!
July 5, 2019
As a member of the Cal Land/Old Republic family, I have fond memories of Al. He was a cheerful and relaxed member of the management team. He only exhibited stress when he would open his desk drawer and pull out the “stretch monster”, yanking at the arms and legs. He was also the secret benefactor of stealth burritos that I would occasionally find on my desk. If I’m fortunate enough to make it to heaven, Al will greet me with “How Have You Been?” He was a unique individual who will long be remembered.