Refugio P. Cortez

Date of Birth

July 15, 1927

Date of Death

February 5, 2021

Remembering Refugio P Cortez

Refugio was born on July 15, 1927 in Michoacan, Mexico. From a young age, Refugio was hardworking and determined. In Mexico, while working at one of his first jobs, in a corner grocery store, he used magazines to learn how to read. He traveled to America and picked lemons in the orchards of California to take care of his wife, Angelina, and two sons back in Mexico. His time away from his loved ones was difficult, but he wanted to offer his family the best life possible.

In 1968 he was able to bring his entire family to live in Santa Barbara, California and they all became American citizens. In Santa Barbara, Refugio, worked for Marborg for over 30 years, and was one of their best and most beloved staff members.

Refugio bought his home in Santa Barbara, which will forever be a symbol of his legacy. Because of his bravery his sons were able to live the American dream and prosper. Leo, his eldest son, owns his own small business locally and his youngest, Ernesto, became a Doctor in Long Beach, California. Refugio was extremely proud of his sons.

Refugio was devoted to his family and beyond that was humble, extremely kind, giving, and full of positivity. You could often see him smiling or giggling, which would instantly warm anyone’s heart. He will be greatly missed! However, his courageous life and the decisions he made changed the path of each and every member of the Cortez family.

Refugio passed away on February 5th, 2021 at the age 93 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and reunited with his wife, Angelina Cortez, in heaven as well as their third son, Javier.

He lives on through his sons, Leo & Ernesto; his seven grandchildren; Alicia, Thomas, Lorena, Anavaleria, Andres, Angelica, Leonardo, his five great-grandchildren, whom he was fortunate to meet, as well as a huge extended family, all of whom love him dearly.

A private, small family funeral will be held at Santa Barbara Cemetery Association in February 2021.


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