Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Jose (Joe) Birondo Lucero 1936 - 2014

Joe Lucero and Kent Gardiner, UES, UCLA, 2013

Joe was born September 15, 1936 in Oakland CA.  to Jose Birondo Lucero and Augustina Gutierrez.  His brother Rodolfo was two years older. His father immigrated from the Philippines and was a steward for the US Coast Guard earning $1200 a year.  Joe Sr. came from Manila on the ship President Lincoln in 1927.  His father was 5 foot 2 inches, 118 pounds, black hair and had a tattoo on his right forearm.  He applied to be  naturalized on May 6, 1935 and was accepted November 26, 1937.

Joe's father's obit: "Jose Lucero, SR. Died in Culver City on November 2, 2003, All Souls Day. Beloved husband of Agustina Lucero of Oakland, CA. Loving father of Jose B. Lucero, Jr. of Los Angeles, CA. Also survived by nieces Dorothy Muca, Kim Agieglo, Remi Almirante, Ophelia Monongan, and many other nieces and nephews. A native of the Philippine Islands, aged 97 years. A chief steward in the U.S. Coast Guard from May 5, 1927 to June 1, 1952. 

"Dad was the Great Santini. His philosophy was...
1) There is a right way to do things.
2) There is the wrong way to do things.
3) There is the Navy's way.
4) And there is my way. We did everything Dad's way. Long live the Great Santini."

Friends are invited to attend funeral mass at St. Augustine's Catholic Church, 400 Alcatraz Avenue, Oakland on Monday, November 17, 2003 at 10:30 a.m. Burial at St. Mary's Cemetery, Howe Street, Oakland. Chapel Of The Chimes "Service of Marked Distinction" Oakland Alameda Times-Star 11/16/03."

Joe's mother Augustina Gutierrez was born May 28, 1911 in Puruandiro, Mexico. She entered the US through El Paso in 1926.  In 1930 she lived in Long Beach with her mother, two sisters and her brother.  One of her sisters was married to the head of the household.  Her sister and brother-in-law had three children.  So all toll there were 10 people living under one roof.  Augustina and Jose married in Tiajuana Mexico on November 15, 1934.   How they got together would be an interesting story.  Rodulfo and Jose were both born in San Pedro, CA.  The family tends to live near the ocean. Augustina died January 23, 2005 in Emeryville, Alameda, California, USA

From what I've been able to uncover, Joe graduated from Cal in 1959 and played baseball there in 1955 until his graduation. He batted .278 in his one season and the Bears had an overall record of 19-12, finishing second in the conference with a 9-7 record.  In the 1958-59 season Joe not only coached baseball but also played backup on the UC basketball team.

For many years Joe worked as the AV specialists at the University Elementary School, at UCLA.  During some of those years he moonlighted at Westwood Photo.  He always checked to see if I had any film to be processed and when I did, I handed him the film canister.  A couple of days later he delivered the prints and I’d slip him $5.00.  I liked getting the prints at a discount. But even more so, it was fun to talk with Joe and hear about his pick up basketball games with the UCLA players or his golf game or what he was doing with a parent or student at the school.  Joe knew a lot of people and a lot of people liked him, including me.

When the end of the year faculty vs 6th grade students baseball game rolled around Joe loved playing.  He yelled good-naturedly at the students and went right out and popped the baseball over the classroom roof. Of course at that time we had no idea he was a former star at Berkeley.  I remember him playing short stop for the faculty.  He was serious about winning.  I think that was why Craig Cunningham put him where he could make sure to get the students out 1, 2, 3.  Craig also liked having him bat fourth so we could get plenty of RBIs.

Joe liked to wear suspenders, t-shirts and tennis shoes. He was approachable, helpful and always had a smile on his face.  It was easy for him to see the humor in life.  

He was a perpetual student.  I’m not sure what advanced degrees he had but he was enrolled at UCLA for many years.

Joe was Mr AV.  He knew a lot about cameras, video taping and how to get the best angles and shots. When he came to your room he had a video camera in one hand and a still camera in the other.  I once asked him why he did that.  He said he never knew which one he needed, so just in case he liked having both.  As I remember he and Jack Sutton taught a summer school class on making movies.  After he retired I asked him if he had any video tapes from when I first taught in the 1970s.  He said he had a garage full of video tapes and equipment.  A few days later he showed up with a half-hour, half-inch Sony video tape from the 1970s.  I’m currently having it digitized.  Thanks Joe.

The day he retired from UES was a day I won’t forget.  I was eating the usual delicious FSA end-of-the-year luncheon when he got up to speak.  I can still see him standing on the grass next to the art room patio while everyone listened.  He told about a girl he fell in love with and how wonderful she was.  Joe was completely in love.  Then Joe became overcome with emotion when he revealed that the girl had jilted him.  He was totally devastated and said that he thought about her every day since.  At first we thought it was a joke.  Then when we realized he was serious everyone leaned forward so we wouldn't miss a word. In an instant his life changed. Joe in love? Joe with a broken heart? Joe settling down? Dropping basketball and friends for a woman? Astonishing to say the lest. 

He never revealed who the lady was but I fully believe it was as real as anything in his life I had never heard Joe talk in such a sincere, sad way.  We were all taken a back because we always considered Joe as a big fun loving kid and didn’t realize he once had dreams of a wife and family.

Joe will go to a place in heaven where there are only kind, helpful people and he will probably be holding two cameras.  Kent Gardiner, 2014

 Joe's brother:

2003 RODOLFO G. LUCERO Passed away peacefully at the age of 68 years on Sunday, May 4, 2003 in Oakland, CA. Survived by his parents Jose B. Lucero and Agustina G. Lucero of Oakland, CA; his brother Jose B. Lucero Jr. of Los Angeles, CA. Also survived by Dorothy Muca and family, & Kimberly Agieglo and family. A native of California who served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier until his retirement. Rudy was the most devoted, humble, loving son and brother to this family. They don't make them like him anymore. "Blessed Virgin Mary please protect him". Friends are invited to a visitation on Monday, May 12, 2003 from 5:00 -8:00 P.M. at Chapel of the Chimes Funeral Home, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA. and Funeral service Tuesday, May 13, at St. Augustine's Catholic Church, 400 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley, CA. Burial will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery. CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES OAKLAND (510) 654-0123 "Service of Marked Distinction"

Published in East Bay Times on May 11, 2003

Joe (wearing stripes holding up 1 finger to show they were number 1) playing basketball at UCLA:

I have recently been unabashedly wallowing in nostalgia (one of the chief benefits of getting old). I recall my happy days of playing pickup basketball at UCLA. Joey Lucero has a big presence in these memories.

When I started playing noontime in Pauley pavilion Joey was very welcoming. (It is common to ignore newcomers in a gym. One doesn’t want an unknown quantity as a team mate.) Joey and I connected in that we were both from San Pedro. This led to us playing one on one basketball. Joey always beat me. I was quite a bit taller than Joe. As such my rule was not to take him to the basket. I was a mediocre outside shooter. Joey would take me to the basket. He was used to playing against taller opponents. He would lay up the ball high against the backboard far from the rim but with sufficient English to make the shot. One of the pickup players was Willie Naulls also from San Pedro and Mr UCLA basketball until Lew Alcindor. Willie wrote a series of memoirs. When he was on a book tour in San Pedro I bought Joey a book. I mentioned to Willie while he was signing the book that I played pickup basketball with him. I gave him some names. I could tell that Willie didn’t remember me but he did remember Joey. He asked me how he was. I told him that like us, Joey was getting old. Willie wrote in the book for Joey, “your friend says you are getting old.”

Joey and I shared a partial season ticket to the Dodger games. Joey told many stories of how he played a significant part in many Cal games. He never told these stories in a boastful manner but as a matter of fact addendum to the action on the field. He told these stories also when playing basketball. No one really believed these stories told by a short pudgy fellow. When items started being posted on the internet one of the b-ball players looked up Joey in the archived Daily Cal. I was amused to read that all Joey’s stories were true.

Joey would also video record the song girls and cheerleaders at the Bruin football games. As such he was known to all the sorority girls who happily would greet him. Joey was popular and got along with everyone. Although he did tell me that he got into a fist fight with Ron Dellums In Oakland when they were teenagers.

I came upon your blog searching for Joey. My last contact with Joey was maybe 15 years ago. I was saddened to read that he had passed away. Thank you for posting the blog. I feel like crying. Indeed I am.

Sincerely, Tom Simundich

PS Joe had a smile that he used in all his photos - the open mouth near laugh that you can see in the picture of you with him. I have a picture of Joe with a young girl. I am guessing may have been a relative.
Same smile. I will look for this photo too. 

Joe's last residence in Los Angeles

Joe's last residence

During his last years Joe used a cart to get around. 

Name: Jose Birondo Lucero Jr
Birth Date: 15 Sep 1936
Address: 3336 Cardiff Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90034-2814 (1992)
[10938 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90064-3141] 
[11128 Rose Av 5, Los Angeles, CA, 90034 (1971)] 

Social Security Death index:

Name: Jose Birondo Lucero
Birth Date: 15 Sep 1936
Gender: Male
Mother's Maiden Name: Gutierrez
Birth County: Los Angeles

Name: Jose B. Lucero
SSN: 552-34-2835
Last Residence:
94608 Emeryville, Alameda, California, USA
BORN: 22 Sep 1907
Died: 2 Nov 2003
State (Year) SSN issued: California (Before 1951)

Name: Rodolfo Gutierrez Lucero
SSN: 546-46-4927
Last Residence:
94608 Emeryville, Alameda, California, USA
BORN: 4 Mar 1935
Died: 4 May 2003
State (Year) SSN issued: California (1952)

Name: Agustina Gutierrez Lucero
Last Residence:
94608 Emeryville, Alameda, California, USA
BORN: 28 May 1911
Died: 23 Jan 2005
State (Year) SSN issued: California (1973)

1940 census: 

1941 Oakland City Directory: (Joe's parents address)

Berkeley student info:

University of California, Berkeley, Commencement, 1959

UC Berkeley, 1954

UC Berkeley, 1955

UC Berkeley, 1959

UC Berkeley, 1959 Note: I think this photo is mislabeled and Joe Lucero was one of the baseball coaches upper photo on the right.

UC Berkeley, 1959

UC Berkeley, 1959

UC Berkeley, 1959

Joe Lucero crossing the gully on an experimental bridge
build by UCLA School of Arch. students, UES gully, 1980s.
Hello dear friends!

This was in our weekly bulletin this afternoon so I thought I would pass it on in case you hadn't heard.

Farewell:  Those of you who have been here a long time will remember Joe Lucero, our AV technician back in the day. Joe passed away recently and there will be a memorial service for him Sat, Nov. 15, 11:30 am at St. Paul the  Apostle on Ohio Avenue here in Westwood, CA.  Joe was ahead of my time.



Dear Rich,
We heard of Joe's passing by reading the retiree's newsletter about 10 days ago and have been wondering since what happened.  We saw Joe about 6 months ago and while he had trouble getting around, he was still able to play golf (using the cart).

Joe was in charge of media at UES (now the UCLA Lab School) beginning in the early 1970s.  He was a fixture at the school and we would often find him asleep late at night editing pictures and video in what was once the Film Room.

Joe loved kids, photography and of course sports.  He became quite close to many UES families. 

He also taught a summer school video class with my husband, Jack Sutton.

One of the many things we enjoyed doing with Joe was taking him for a prime rib dinner at Lawry's around Christmas time.  I remember one time when the waitress was serving dinner, she accidentally spilled some horseradish on Joe.  She was so mortified and offered to get his jacket cleaned.  Joe declined and just took it in stride BUT he was truly impressed when a week later he received a gift package from Lawry's apologizing for the incident.

Sharon and Jack Sutton


The service was a Catholic Mass where there was a Jewish Cantor-like singer who led all the music elements. One nice part was that the priest new Joe and presented a nice homily about him. Joe attended the Sunday night masses because he like the more up-to-date music and the younger people.

The reception was in a large room next to the church. There was a large family presence and one of Joe’s nephews presided over the reception.  There were a goodly number of family members of all ages who attended.  They began with a photo montage of Joe with a musical background. His nephew said a few words and then asked for others to come forward. His aunt, niece and others came forth. One beautiful was a woman who had been at UES and was helped by Joe and was like a family to him. He was at their house every Halloween dressed in a costume so as to help her children hand out goodies to her children.

One of the members of the Cal baseball team of 1955 was there and recounted how he had been a close friend over the last 60 years. Jack Sutton recounted a few stories.

There was no mention of his burial, only that he suffered some form of cancer (blood, I think).

It was a lovely tribute.



1930 census, showing his mother Augustina:

There is some evidence that Jose or Joe is buried next to his father (waiting on a phone call from St. Mary's in Berkeley