By Dalia Espinosa, Correspondent
Bob Morales, the older brother of rock legend Ritchie Valens, and who made a reputation for himself from Pacoima to Northern California throughout his personal turbulent previous, died Saturday night time in his Central Coast residence after battling prostate most cancers. He was 81.
Many would possibly keep in mind Morales as portrayed by actor Esai Morales — no relation — within the 1987 movie “La Bamba,” the biopic about Valens’ life. Morales was the rugged, mustached man who proudly rode his motorbike and sported a tricky, leather-jacket-clad exterior.
“Farewell, my large brother. You gave me a lot to work with and be pleased about…,” Esai Morales posted on Fb, with a photograph of his muse sporting a Mohawk haircut and standing subsequent to a motorbike, an emblem of the gritty life he led.
Bob Morales was, certainly, a form of wild little one, in keeping with his household, whose life took a tough activate Feb. 3, 1959, when an Iowa airplane crash claimed Ritchie’s 17-year-old life.
It was the identical crash that killed rock stars Buddy Holly and J. P. “The Massive Bopper” Richardson.
Again residence, within the household’s Pacoima neighborhood, Morales, whose brother by then had discovered fame with rock hits like “La Bamba,” was shaken to his core.
Day-after-day he was reminded of his brother, and the recollections introduced tears, in keeping with kinfolk, who described a life that went from the depths of dependancy to the peaks of merely making an attempt to be a very good father and do good by different folks.
“My dad was an exquisite man,” mentioned his daughter Connie Morales, 47. “My dad didn’t choose anyone. My dad was humble. He gave everyone an opportunity — as a result of he is aware of somebody gave him an opportunity — when he was going by way of his dependancy, his ingesting. Somebody gave him an opportunity, and he simply paid it ahead.”
Bob Morales was raised within the San Fernando Valley and attended San Fernando Excessive College.
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In the course of the Fifties, Morales and his migrant household labored quickly in San Jose agricultural camps selecting produce and loading them onto vans. Among the many household was a younger Ritchie, who shared an in depth and playful bond along with his brother Bob, even though they had been born to completely different organic fathers. Their mom, Concepcion Reyes, and Ritchie are each buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
Morales met Rosie Caballero in Northern California. Finally, she adopted Morales to the San Fernando Valley, the place that they had seven youngsters.
“He was a really wild dude,” mentioned his daughter Bly Olivia Morales, 39. “I imply, he did some actually loopy stuff, however we simply adore him.”
As an adolescent, Morales consistently obtained into bodily altercations with different college students, and at one level landed in juvenile detention. He additionally admitted to an abusive relationship along with his first spouse, Rosie, in keeping with a Lowrider Journal article in 2015.
“I used to drink all day, and I used to tear the home down. I additionally obtained a little bit abusive with Rosie (his girlfriend on the time),” he advised Lowrider Journal.
His daughter mentioned for years he was “not that nice of a dad,” as a result of he didn’t know easy methods to be one. However as time glided by, he proved his greatness, she mentioned.
His likelihood to show it got here when he moved away from the L.A. space, and again to the Bay Space.
Within the Nineteen Seventies, he moved to Santa Cruz County and would reside there for almost 50 years.
He met Joanie Morales whereas working at a rehabilitation middle. He married her on the addiction-treatment middle in 1979, they usually raised extra youngsters.
“When persons are drunks or addicts or no matter they’re, most individuals is not going to settle for [them] every other means,” mentioned his spouse. “[They think] that’s how they’re eternally, and Bob undoubtedly proves to me and doubtless thousands and thousands of others, folks do change and for the higher.”
At his Watsonville residence, he helped increase a few of his grandchildren when instances turned difficult for his daughters.
“[My son] grew a bond with my dad,” mentioned his daughter Connie, who not too long ago moved to Palmdale from Pacoima, the place she and her seven siblings had been raised. “He graduated faculty on the market. He noticed my dad every single day. He was there when my dad handed and walked him out after they picked him up.”
However that wasn’t the one grandchild who was raised by Morales.
Alexander Ortega, 28, additionally shared recollections of his grandfather, whom he described as a younger soul.
“I’m mainly one in all his youngsters,” he mentioned as some kinfolk chuckled and agreed.
Morales is survived by his eight youngsters and greater than 30 grandchildren.
On Wednesday afternoon, a number of motorbike golf equipment got here collectively at Watsonville Plaza in Santa Cruz County for a final trip, a tribute to Morales who was an avid motorbike and automobile fanatic.
He stayed wild till the tip.
Morales, a mechanic who beloved vehicles and dashing down California’s roads, didn’t have a driver’s license his final 25 years. And he was pulled over by police many instances, solely to be given warnings as soon as they realized who he was.
He even wore his trademark Mohawk with delight when he died Saturday night time.
Funeral providers are pending.
Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Michael Todd contributed to this story.
This story was amended to make clear info on Rosie Cabarello.