Moses Efren Cordova
(1930 - 2014)
Moses Efren Córdova was born on April 17, 1930 in Walsenburg, Colorado. He died on Monday, December 15, 2014 in Tustin, California, with his daughter, Karen, at his bedside. His life ended with the arrow of Santa Sebastiana aimed at him, dead center within the crosshairs of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Both maternal and paternal ancestors were among the original settlers of the San Luis Valley and Huerfano Valley in the 1860s: Mountain Man, John David Albert and María Juliana León (Juliana was buried under the church of San Pedro y San Pablo); Dolores Martínez, daughter of Juan Julián Martínez and María Guadalupe Vigil; José María Espinosa and María de los Reyes Trujillo; José Miguel Córdova and María Rafaela Medina; and José Desiderio Cruz and María Benigna Olivas.
Moses was an example of what hard work can accomplish, driven by emotions left intact from a difficult childhood and coupled with luck. Under leadership by him; his wife, Rachel; and a few key managers, his three businesses thrived and, for many years, Cordova Bolt, Inc, was consistently ranked among the 500 Top Hispanic companies in the United States. This was a great distance for someone whose father, Jacobo Córdova (1902–1990), had been a miner in the Southern Colorado coalfields, where mules were treated better than human beings. His mother, María Elvera Albert (1906–2007), was a homemaker, who kept a tidy home and an extraordinary garden planted with heirloom seeds she lovingly retained from season to season. However, during the Great Depression and its aftermath, times were often so difficult that young Moses always walked the streets of Walsenburg, head down, searching for such things as bones, aluminum wrappers, and rubber bands to stockpile, and then sell to scrap dealers. While walking, he usually carried his one pair of shoes in his hands to preserve the soles. Damage to the bottom of the soles was repaired with cardboard. Jacobo and Elvera had four other children: Adrian (1932-1933), Floyd (1934–2013), Daniel (died in childhood), and Donald (ca. 1941- ).
Moses attended St. Mary’s High School in Walsenburg. After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War, serving as a petty officer and radio man. His ship surreptitiously entered mouths of North Korean rivers and carried Navy Seals who planted bombs. He did not know that intelligent Hispanos were often chosen to be radio men, because men in that position would be the first shot, should the ship be captured. However, the Navy also provided him with the opportunity to expand his dreams. Moses visited China, Alaska, and other foreign ports. Once, a cruise ship passed by the Navy ship, and passengers waved at the young sailors. Waving back, Moses resolved that, one day, he would be a passenger on such a fine cruise line. Today, his family has pictures of him in tuxedo, attending black-tie functions on Crystal Cruise ships, sailing to exotic places like the West Indies through the Panama Canal. Moses married Rachel Linda Martínez, also of Walsenburg, in January 1951. For opportunity beyond working in a mine or being a delivery boy for a bread truck, they moved to California where they raised their three children: Karen, Mark, and Matthew.
Moses’ career was in the fastener industry. After being employed by Triangle Steel & Supply in Vernon, he and his wife had half-ownership of Circle Bolt in Santa Fe Springs, CA, followed by sole ownership of Cordova Bolt, Inc. in Buena Park, CA, and two-thirds ownership of Centennial Bolt in Denver, CO. Moses was active in the Western Association of Fastener Distributors (WAFD); National Association of Fastener Distributors (NAFD); Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Business Advisory Board; as well as Catholic Church associations affiliated with the parishes of St. Pius V, Buena Park, CA, and St. Cecelia, Tustin, CA.
Moses is survived by his wife, Rachel; children, Karen, Mark, and Matthew; six grandchildren, Elizabeth, Mark-Thomas, Crystal, Emily, Matthew Moses, and Jacob; and two great-grandchildren, Jacqueline and Heather.
© 2014 Karen S. Córdova
Originally published in La Sierra: Voice of Costilla County, Volume XXII, Number 2, January 9, 2015.
Photograph: Moses Córdova and his beloved granddaughter, Elizabeth Riley, daughter of the author.