Veteran, baseball enthusiast, loving patriarch
Lifelong Claremont resident Ignacio Felix died on February 7, 2015 at his home in Claremont. He was 86.
He was born July 31, 1928 in Claremont to Cruz and Espedita Felix, one of six sons. He enlisted in the military during World War II, where he served as a Technician 5th Grade US Army Corporal. Mr. Felix was a recipient of the World War II Victory Medal and also earned campaign and service medals. He received a personal service “Thank You” letter from President Harry S. Truman.
Following his military service, Mr. Felix worked a short time for the railroad and for the Claremont-College Heights Orange & Lemon Association in 1951. He met his future wife, Delia Martinez, in Claremont and they were married at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Claremont in 1951.
Mr. Felix drove a sanitation truck for the city of Claremont in the late 1950s. During that time, he undertook a 12-week course in supervisory management at Claremont Men’s College. He was one of a dozen city employees to receive a certificate of completion from then Claremont Mayor Edward Dittmer. Mr. Felix would eventually make a career in chrome plating as a straightener.
Mr. Felix was proud to be a part of Claremont history. He liked to show a photograph of all the employees who worked at the Packing House during his tenure, which included his wife Delia and brothers Joe and Ernie Felix. The shot is included in Judy Wright’s Claremont: A Pictorial History as well as in a 2014 book on Claremont released as part of the “Images of America” series. Both books also include another favorite photograph, a panoramic shot of the College Heights Packing House with Mr. Felix’s car parked in the foreground.
Ignacio loved the game of baseball. He played on the Claremont Athletic Club (ACs) softball team, winning two championships in the early 1950s, and played Army baseball during his time in the military. He loved watching the Los Angeles Dodgers on TV and going to the stadium to watch them play, especially on Father’s Day when the whole family would make it a point to be together.
In 2011, Mr. Felix was one of a half-dozen Mexican-American men who played ball in the area in the 1930s to the 1950s to be honored at a first pitch ceremony held at the Cal Poly Pomona Baseball Field. The event was sponsored by the Latino History Project, in conjunction with Cal Poly and Cal State San Bernardino.
A photo of Mr. Felix and his fellow honorees is featured in the 2012 book Mexican American Baseball in the Inland Empire. In another photo highlighted in the book, he and his brother Joe can be seen with their teammates after the athletes won the Claremont Civic Softball League’s Bradley Cup Playoffs in 1950.
Ignacio and Delia delighted in listening to mariachi music. They enjoyed heading to La Fonda restaurant to have dinner and hear the mariachis play. They would also make trips to San Bernardino and Las Vegas to hear the music they loved. “Dad, grandpa and brother, we will miss you,” his family shared.
Ignacio’s wife Delia preceded him in death in 2008. He is survived by his two sons and daughters-in-law, Rudy and Marsha Felix of Upland and Jerry and Karen Felix of Riverside; by three grandchildren, Gabriel Felix, Rene Felix and Carly Felix Loria, all of Upland; and by two brothers, Ernie Felix of Ontario and Raul Felix of Montclair.
Graveside service was held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Pomona.