Obituary: Roberto “Pepe” Andrade
Beloved patriarch, entrepreneur, wellspring of sage advice
Roberto “Pepe” Andrade died at his Claremont home on August 31. Born November 7, 1941, he proudly hailed from Moroleón, Guanajuato, Mexico, but he came to the United States—like so many others—in search of a better life. Although he was only 18 at the time, the scope of dreams carried him through a life that marked all those who knew him for the better.
While Roberto worked in a factory, he also attended night school to learn English and study computer programming. He proved he had an unteachable knack for entrepreneurship that led him through many business ventures, including starting a chain of real estate offices throughout Southern California, and Pacific Coast Mortgage, which he ran with his children for 15 years.
Both before and after he retired, he applied his tenacious curiosity to myriad hobbies including learning how to breed canaries in colors that his nine grandchildren would enjoy, curating bonsai trees and racing homing pigeons at the American Racing Pigeon Union.
He was a keen observer of the natural world and, after moving to Claremont in 2002, he took great pleasure in hiking throughout the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, where he would go to watch the native birds flying overhead, pausing to greet every passerby.
Although he always had a project or business he was working on, his life was defined by the love of his blended family, which included Robert Andrade, Susana Andrade-Rhoades and Maria Escarcega, the children he had with his first wife, Maria Garcia.
“Roberto lit up a room, gleefully telling and retelling stories about his childhood in Mexico, his misadventures boxing as a young man, or how he met the love of his life, Rosana Andrade, backstage while she was on a world tour dancing folklorico, where he became smitten with her immediately,” his family shared.
After a two-month courtship, the pair were married. Over the course of their 38-year marriage, they had two daughters, Rosana Carter and Gabriela Andrade, and often opened their home to their vast network of family and friends, all of whom counted themselves lucky to witness the love between Rosana and Roberto.
Aside from his gift for dramatic storytelling and well-timed jokes, he also relished being sought out for wise counsel, whether it was his children’s friends, who affectionately called him “papa Andrade,” or those who sought his business acumen. The advice he always gave was thoughtful, grounded and rooted in the belief that having a good idea and a strong sense of self could lead to great things, as it had in his own life.
His force of will was such that, even in the depths of his dementia, he held on to life long enough to see his youngest daughter, Gabriela, get married in July, and meet his youngest grandson, Henry Carter, who was born that same month.
He leaves behind his wife Rosana; five children and nine grandchildren, Jessica Andrade, David Andrade, Amanda Rhoades, Matthew Rhoades, Alysia Escarcega, Isabella Escarcega, Cameron Carter, Nora Carter and Henry Carter, all of whom inherited his intensely independent spirit.
“Roberto loved being the center of attention on his birthday so, as he would’ve wanted, his life will be celebrated on November 8, 2021, at San Antonio Winery,” his family shared.