Victor Camacho

University of Utah
Department of Mathematics
Office: LCB 317

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My Father

My Father

My father, Victor H. Camacho, Sr., passed away on July 14th, 2007 at the age of 77. He meant the world to me and was the greatest father any son could ever ask for. I credit so many good things in my life to his wisdom and kindness. He lived an incredible life even before I was born.

My father was born in Calexico, CA on June 30th 1930 as the sixth child in a family of nine. Both his parents would be considered illegal Mexican immigants by today's standards. Spending the first ten years of life in the midst of the Great Depression he learned very early on what it was like to be without. It was difficult for his father and mother, a barber and a housewife, respectively, to support so many children during such hard times. His mother died of cancer in 1939, when my father was very young. Not long after that all of his older siblings were called into the line of duty during the second World War. For several years my father was the oldest sibling at home. His father worked long hours in the barber shop in order to make ends meet, and without a mother at home my father, by necessity, became a very able and responsible leader. Despite such harsh condition at home he continued to work hard in school to receive good grades and in terms of athletics he took the 400m race very seriously. His senior year he set the record at his high school which stood for over 40 years.

Shortly after graduating high school he joined the Army Airforce and was stationed in Alaska for two years during the Korean War. He served our nation honorably until 1952 when he was relieved of his duty and supported in college through the GI bill. He attended junior college for two years and transfered to UCLA from where he receieved his Bachelors degree in 1960. He then transfered to Stanford University earned a Masters degree in Education, graduating in 1963. At this point in time he was one of the only Mexican-Americans to have earned a Masters degree. He began teaching in 1963 but in 1966 he joined the civil rights movement. He went on to helped many low income workers by building affordable housing in the Santa Cruz and Santa Clara areas of California. He spent many years on these projects and continued managing them for over 30 years thereafter.

In 1978 he resumed his passion of teaching bright young minds. He worked as a bilingual mathematics teacher at E.A. Hall Middle School in Watsonville, CA where he met my mother in 1979. They were married in 1983 and I was born approximately one year later, when my father was 54 years old. My parents had two more children in 1986 and 1991. My father was the most devoted, proud, and patient leader any child could ever ask for. He raised his faily in the Monterey Bay area of California where he continued teaching and investing in real estate until retiring in 2000. In 2004 my family moved to North Carolina where he spent the last few years of his life writing an amazing book about his own father's life. He had been planning on writing this biography since the early 70's but it was only in the tranquil environment of North Carolina that he was finally able to complete it. The story tells of his father's youth and his exploits during the Mexican Revolution. I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, he passed away at the age of 93, eight years before I was born. However, my dad spent so much time telling me what an incredible man he was, and in his book he intends to explain that to the entire world. Knowing that my own children will never know their grandfather either, I hope one day that I may return the favor. My father has left me with an incredible legacy to continue, and as long as my heart is beating I will do everything in my power to make him proud of me :)