Charles L. Alva
Charles L. Alva, “Uncle Charlie” 89, passed away on Feb. 16, a victim of the Covid virus. He was born in Santa Barbara on August 14, 1931. He lived for several years in Mexico but returned to Santa Barbara in his early teens. He served in the US Army for two years with a tour of duty in Japan. Upon returning to Santa Barbara, he began working at Steve’s Market, in Montecito, which later became Jurgenson’s, where he worked for many years and subsequently retired. He married Vera Hruba Ralston Yates in 1973 and together they hosted many parties at their beachside estate. Vera passed away in 2003. Uncle Charlie then devoted his life to various philanthropic organizations and enjoyed assisting the vendors at the local Farmer’s Market. He was a superb cook, “chef”. He loved cooking and was known to fix dinner for 150 guests for a Bar-B-Q, with steaks to order. Sometimes in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, he was known to bake a cheesecake, scones, a pie, or cream puffs. Quite often he would prepare meals for his gardeners and other employees. One never visited him without leaving with some of his kitchen goodies. He never opened a cookbook. While he was working at Jurgenson’s, Julia Child would drop in to see what Charlie was preparing for the employee’s lunch in the store’s kitchen. He was a longtime member of the Coral Casino, where he hosted an annual family gathering of birthday celebrations. He is survived by many nieces and nephews. Among them are, Sally Hawkes (Emmet), Tony Ramirez (Jill), Richard Ramirez (Roberta) and Gil Rosas (Susan). His Vitality, love of life and people will be long remembered. Rest in peace “Uncle Charlie”.