2007 Inductee - Oscar Chapa


2007 Inductee - Oscar Chapa

Humanitarian

Oscar was born on December 15, 1917 in Monterrey, Mexico. In 1925, the Chapa family immigrated to Texas to join its ancestral roots, instrumental in the exploration and settling of the state in the 1600’s. In the 1930’s the family moved to Los Angeles where Oscar met and married Alice Reynoso in 1942, a month after the U.S. entered WWII. At this time he had been serving in the Army Reserves patrolling the U.S. coastline, and was drafted into the Army Air Force. They soon recognized his mechanic skills and sent him to Louisiana where he quickly earned the rank of Master Sergeant in charge of maintenance and repair of European bound fighter planes.

Moving with Alice to Stockton in 1947, he opened “The Mexico Café”, with two sisters. When a state official asked him to open a taco stand at the State Fair, inspired by its success, he began to open stands at county fairs throughout the state, continuing for over 53 years! He has owned Oscar’s Catering since 1940.

Oscar helped establish the San Joaquin Lions Club, and was inducted as a Charter Member in 1958. As the club’s president 1968-69, he doubled its membership to 58, and is the only active Charter Member. Throughout the years he chaired Tamale and Cioppino dinners and participated in the annual corned beef, cabbage and enchilada dinners. He helped provide lunches for the volunteers of the “Su Salud” program headed by Dr. Vicuna, and eventually serving about 2700 volunteers! In addition, Oscar served weekly at St. Mary’s Dining Hall, drove truckloads of donated food and clothes to Mexico, and helped provide used ambulances to small towns. As a member of the County’s Sheriff’s Air Posse he made himself and his airplane available in times of need.

On November 16, 2005, Oscar was honored by the Stockton-San Joaquin Lion’s Club for his exemplary record of community service, receiving congressional recognition, and numerous other awards and commendations. Previously, he had been awarded Lion of the Year ten times! He and Alice are the proud parents of Dr. Eric Chapa and Dena Rupert, retired Stockton teacher.