Joe Reyes Nevarez, 98, died Monday, December 28, 2009.
Beloved father and groundbreaker, Joe Nevarez was an important figure in the Latino media community of Los Angeles. He was the first Chicano reporter for the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Joe’s career began at eastside’s Lincoln High School, where he was the Sports Editor of the school’s daily paper. His career at the L.A. Times began as a copy boy, when a student friend/co-writer and head copy boy at the Times, offered him a job. Joe’s official job was to paste up New York Stock Exchange quotations, but his love of the news process and hard working ethics, often found him volunteering in the financial section of the paper during his free time. He was paid $12 for a six-day week, yet felt so blessed to be working during the darkest part of the Depression.
Throughout his career Nevarez always urged the LA Times to hire Latino reporters, but his editors always told him there wasn’t anyone who was trained.
Nevarez came to the United States as a three-month-old when his mother crossed the Mexican border into El Paso in 1912. When he was older, he attended a Spanish Catholic school in Texas. Joe didn’t speak English until he moved to Los Angeles and was enrolled into an English grammar school. He became a U.S. citizen in 1925. In 1942 Joe served as a typist and clerk for 3 years in the Army Air Corp, and naturally one of his duties was representing his squadron by reporting for the army base newsletter.
He and his wife, Theresa Juarez Nevarez, had three children: Margaret, Daniel and Cecilia. Though Joe Nevarez never attended college, he made sure all three of his children went. Upon graduation his daughters entered the education field (one as a high-school counselor and the other as a teacher), his son worked at the Internal Revenue Service.
Joe Nevarez worked for The Los Angeles Times for a total of 52 years, during which time he also was a founding member of the California Chicano News Media Association. He said he was happiest in the newsroom. “There’s nothing better than being a reporter,” Nevarez said. “There’s something new everyday.”
On January 6, 2010, a Memorial Service will be held at the St. Stephen Catholic Church for Joe Reyes Nevarez. http://www.archdiocese.la/directories/parishes/info.php?parish_id=277, followed by a burial at Resurrection Cemetery.