1997 Inductee - Louis Villalovoz

1997 Inductee - Louis Villalovoz


Louis’ favorite question, “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,” was not only spoken, but also practiced. Our achievements are like candles lit in the darkness; they lead the way for others to follow. In Louis’ seventy five and a half years, he lit enough candles in Tracy California for the whole county to follow.

Louis’ fifty plus years of service in the areas of athletics, community service and education culminated in the naming of an elementary school and its playground in his honor in 1988. “Louis J. Villalovoz symbolizes the highest quality of response to membership in this community. Demonstrated by five decades of active participation in the areas of education, sports recreation and community service organizations,” read the resolution that named the new school.

Part of the honor was due to Louis’ 12 years of service as a Tracy Elementary School District trustee, two of them as its president. But most of the honor was earned by many years of service to the youth of Tracy. When he arrived in the early 30’s, Tracy had no sports program. He turned his vineyard into a baseball field because “Tracy didn’t have one.” Louis served as director of an informal recreation commission until the city hired a Recreation Director. He was a member of the Recreation Commission for ten years and was chairman in 1971 and 1972.

Sports were a big concern for Louis. He organized Tracy’s first Mexican-American baseball team and was its manager and catcher. He coached youth baseball and basketball for many years. For over 30 years at Tracy High’s home football games he carried the sideline markers.

Louis helped organize the Guadalupe Society and served as its president and treasurer. He headed the Pro-Salon Committee, a branch of the Mexican Honorifica Society, which he organized to raise funds to build a hall. The Guadalupe Center was built and now also houses the boys and girls club. Louis donated 12 acres of his corn producing land which went to the purchase of materials. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Cristo Rey Center which serves the Larch-Clover area.

“He was gentle, kind giving, understanding, and most of all a survivor. He stood for many things and people. He was a father to all. He helped develop this community as well as people in it,” Mike Carter, a neighbor for 38 years, wrote to the Villalovoz family when Louis died.