On behalf of the Alaniz family I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here to celebrate the life of an extraordinary man.
My name is Ernesto Alvarez III and although Joe was my first cousin, he was “Tio” Joe or “Tio” Cuti my whole life. The difference in our age and my respect for him made it the most natural thing in the world for me to call him, “Tio.”
I have been given the distinct honor of delivering the eulogy for an exemplary man whose life and example have touched so many people, in so many different and unique ways.
Whether it was his music with Los Exitos de Joe Alaniz, El Coro del Buen Consejo, numerous “serenatas” and backyard gatherings, or him just playing the guitar on his porch. His love for the Dallas Cowboys (we all know what it was like at Tio Joe’s on Cowboy Sunday); definitely his sense of humor and his sense of service to his family, friends, and community (through the church or simply out of the kindness of his own heart) in Kingsville and the surrounding areas.
Whether his role as husband, father, sibling, friend, compadre, grandpa, trusted mentor or grand example – his impact can be seen and felt in the lives of so many people. Many of whom are gathered here today.
You can imagine how difficult it must be to try and capture in words such a life as his. What to say? Or rather, where to begin? Just my memories alone, or do I tie a whole bunch of memories from a lot of different people together like a quilt? The answer eventually came. And it came to me in words I’ve heard Tio Joe say on numerous occasions: “Es muy simple la cosa!”
And it is. It’s very simple.
That’s why I think it’s entirely appropriate to begin with scripture. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he writes:
“I have become all things to all people to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I may have a share in its blessings”
1 Corinthians 9: 22(b) – 23
All things to all people, this has certainly been my experience of Tio Joe. I bet if you talk to everyone here, you’ll get a glimpse as to the many roles he played; chief among them husband and father.
He and Rachel lived out the sacrament of marriage and weathered every storm life brought, all the while remaining faithful to God and to each other. And although they are no longer here with us, physically, their example lives on in each of our hearts. They raised a beautiful family who are themselves talented and giving.
One of my favorite memories of Cuti and Rachel together was a time when we were at my sister Mere’s house eating – of course. Tio Cuti started telling a story (or probably a joke) – and every 2nd or 3rd detail – Tia Rachel would jump in with: “Ya te chotiates,”and, “Haci no va.”
It was hilarious, their interplay. Their back-and-forth. It’s the reason there was never a dull moment when they were around.
As a musician, we all know the story. His influence is far and wide. Lucky were we to have had such a wonderful musician around us, so giving of his talent. For some he was a teacher, for others he was the reason music made all the sense in the world.
Many lives were touched and made better by the music he and his compadres made with Los Exitos and especially, the Alaniz family with El Coro del Buen Consejo. I know I have very fond memories that I will always cherish.
Finally, and most importantly, Joe Alaniz had a servant’s heart. Always willing to give of his time to help others; be they family or friends. Through the church at Our Lady of Good Council and organizations like the R.A.A.N.A club, he dedicated himself to living out his Christian faith. Jesus reminds us that, those who are greatest among you shall be your servants. Both Joe and Rachel exemplified this truth in their lives.
All things to all people. This was Joe L. Alaniz.
I’d like to end by sharing 2 of my favorite memories of Tio Joe.
1) On many occasions when I was growing up (and especially after Tia Rica passed away) Tio Joe would show up to my mom’s house early in the morning, “breakfast supplies” in hand. Sometimes it was eggs and bacon. Sometimes it was chorizo and papas. He always brought something! And because it was Tio Cuti – the plàtica and the laughter were unending. The worst part for me was having to go to school because I wanted to stay home. And because it was Tio Cuti – he’d often volunteer to take me to school.
2) Myself, Jay, and Joey were hanging out in Tio Cuti backyard. After having been inside for a few minutes, Joey walks out the back door with a “look” on his face – barely containing the laughter.
Apparently Tio Cuti has left a $50 bill with a note attached – in case the kids got hungry. You know he was thinking Whataburger because there was a postscript that said:
“And if they can’t cash a 50 dollar bill, they have no business selling hamburgers!”