April 27, 1931-March 3, 2018
Rafael James Velez was born on April 27, 1931 in Watsonville, Ca. In the days leading up to his death Rafael was surrounding by his loving family. Rafael died at home with his daughter on Saturday, March 3, 2018. He fought a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Rafael proudly served in the US Army from 1951-1953. He fought in the Korean War, where he received a Purple Heart and many other honors. Rafael was raised in Juarez, Mexico and returned back to Watsonville in 1954 with his wife, Arcelia Velez, to raise their family. Rafael also known as Ralph had worked for S. Martinelli Company prior to his retirement for 20 years as a head supervisor. Ralph enjoyed spending time with his family. He loved to go to Reno and on bus trips to the casinos. He never met a dessert he could pass up.
He was predeceased by his wife of 63 years, Arcelia; his mother and father, Isidora and Jose Bouche and two great grandchildren.
He is survived by his four children, Guadalupe Albo, Martha (Bonifacio) Tapia, Victor (Nancy) Velez and Isidora (Antonio) Lopez; 12 grandchildren with two proudly serving in the US Marines and the US Navy, and seven great grandchildren. He is also survived by four brothers and one sister.
The family would like to thank Santa Cruz County Hospice and the staff at Watsonville Post-Acute Care.
Visitation will be held at Mehl’s Colonial Chapel on Thursday, March 8 from 5-9 pm with the rosary recited at 7 pm. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church on Friday, March 9 at 9:30 am with the burial to follow at Valley Catholic Cemetery.