Marcelino Vera, a former equipment technician for the athletics department who worked with legendary Cal Poly Pomona coaches Roman Gabriel and John Scolinos, has died. He was 98.
Vera came to work at the university in the 1970s, assisting the Bronco football, basketball and baseball teams as the equipment director for 10 years.
Mike Esquivel, an instructional support assistant for athletics, knew Vera when Esquivel was a student-athlete at the university.
“He was a great guy who I admired, and he was a hard worker,” says Esquivel, who has worked at the university since 1983. “When I was a football player, he would take care of me. Anytime new shirts or gear arrived, he would catch me and say, ‘Mike, come here. Try out these new lineman shoulder pads.’ Also he would give me new extra socks, jocks and schimmel shirts, half t-shirts that go under the shoulder pads.”
Vera had a passion for sports, especially golf. He was a single handicap player, competing in tournaments throughout Southern California until age 84. He was one of the original incorporators of the Latin American Golf Association.
The La Verne resident was the son of one of the first Mexican American families to settle in the Pomona Valley, according to his family. Vera grew up in San Dimas and in the 1940s and later owned a barbershop in Los Angeles’s Lincoln Heights community. In the mid 1950s, he relocated his business to San Dimas, operating Marcelino’s barbershop in his hometown’s downtown area for 40 years before retiring and handing it off to his son Roger.
Vera also was civically active in San Dimas, serving on several city committees and commissions. He was one of the founders of the San Dimas Little League. He also served on the task force in 1955 that created the Holy Name of Mary Parish and remained active in his church throughout his life.
“No one had a bad word to say about him,” says Carol Vera, his daughter-in-law and an administrative assistant in Cal Poly Pomona’s geological sciences department. “He always had a smile on his face. He made friends everywhere he went.”
He is survived by his wife of more than 72 years Mary, sons Ronald (Christina), Gabriel (Carol), George (Margaret), Roger (Lorraine) and Joseph (Carolina), and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, friends are urged to make donations in his name to the charity of their choice.
Services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Todd Memorial Chapel, 570 N. Garey Ave. in Pomona, and a Memorial Mass at 10 a.m. on Wednesday Oct. 19 at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, 724 E. Bonita Ave. in San Dimas, will celebrate his memory. Burial services will follow the mass at Forest Lawn Covina Hills, 21300 Via Verde Drive. A memorial reception for family and friends will be held at San Dimas Canyon Golf Clubhouse, 2100 Terrebonne Ave., from noon to 5 p.m.