Victor De La Cruz Alvarez, a graduate student at the University of La Verne, died in a car accident Feb. 12.
Family and friends celebrated his life March 10 in the Ludwick Center Sacred Space. Those who attended the celebration of life were invited to wear purple in honor of him.
Alvarez was a student in the graduate program for educational counseling with a bilingual concentration. He was known for his unconditional love of the people around him. Family members greeted each other with hugs before walking through the doors as it became very emotional to confront reality.
University Chaplain Zandra Wagoner was present at the service and had a few words to share.
“I did not know him but from what I have heard he had a love inside of him that really overflows,” Wagoner said. “People experience it and are supported and encouraged by him.”
David Nieto, Alvarez’s partner of 11 years, spoke about how they first met and the love they shared with one another. He loved to laugh and he loved life, Alvarez never took anything for granted.
“I was jogging one day and I made a left turn in an unfamiliar park area,” Nieto said. “We caught eyes and said ‘Hi’ to each other and the rest was history.”
He loved helping people and putting others first. Alvarez was very passionate about learning and working with students.
“I want people to know that he was an example of what not giving up on your goals is,” Kailen Torres, Alvarez’s friend, said.
The memorial was covered with purple shades from the front to the back of the room, and the reason was because of how much Alvarez loved the vibrance. There were many candles and pictures of him and seats filled up quickly with family members and friends as they gave their condolences to one another.
There were several obstacles he had to overcome and he accomplished every goal he put his mind to. Alvarez just recently passed the California Basic Educational Skills Test to earn his credentials along with his master’s degree.
“He was working on his master’s in educational counseling so he could continue helping others,” Wagoner said.
Throughout his life he continued to make those surrounded by him feel welcomed. He always greeted everyone with a smile and was never in a bad mood.
“I would always mention how I was trying to eat healthier and that I shouldn’t eat hot Cheetos but he would always tell me ‘who cares?’,” Teressa Escobedo, Alvarez’s friend, said.
With being the first in his family to pursue higher education, he was proud of what he had accomplished. Even the things that had nothing to do with school were moments when he felt he was super proud to tell his friends.
“I remember the day he drove his car to campus,” Escobedo said. “I was sitting in class and he told me to come outside because he wanted to show me his new car.”
During the time Alvarez attended the University, he was able to leave a mark on everyone he encountered. He was the type of person who wanted to listen to what other people had to say.
“Despite just knowing each other for a couple of weeks,” Torres said. “I felt like I already knew him for what he truly was.”
In the life Alvarez lived he transformed a lot within himself and within others, by inspiring and encouraging them to go after what they want in life. So many people will never forget the smile and positivity he brought when he walked in a room.
“It was a life cut too short but he did in fact make it count,” Wagoner said.
Sabin Gabra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.