With close vigil by family, Roberto “Bobby” Carlos Alvarez passed from this world at 1:49 a.m. on Sunday, May 14, 2023, Mother’s Day, joining his mother María in the kingdom of heaven. Bobby lived 80 years and two months, a lifetime of touching lives, making memories, traveling the world, and forming camaraderie with close friends, and deeply loving relationships with his wife of 53 years Anna, their two daughters, three sons, 14 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren.
Bobby was born in Bisbee, Arizona in 1943 to Francisco Alvarez and María De León, both of migrant Mexican families. He was the oldest son, survived by younger brothers Jim of California and Ron of Arizona. At 17, Bobby joined the Army, “to see the world,” as he put it. Bobby traveled to Korea, Germany, Panama and all throughout the United States during his three years in the service, and later the National Guard, where he served for 17 years. Bobby was known as the “Master Blaster” in his work in the military because of his expertise with explosives. Bobby also became a mentor to younger colleagues who looked up to him as a non-commissioned officer who was demanding but fair.
Bobby worked for Phelps Dodge for 37 years and nine months, beginning first as an underground miner and working his way to supervisor of the crusher before his retirement in 1997. Bobby was knowledgeable about geology, history, and geography, and his experience in the mines gave him further opportunities to learn about his interests. Learning was one of Bobby’s assets. As a worker, he learned quickly, but always studied hard. As in the military, he was a mentor to many.
Bobby was funny, intelligent, clever, colorful, adventurous, quirky, sometimes ornery and exasperating, but – above all – loving, insightful, and feisty. He had a keen sense of duty, and commitments to care to his utmost capacity for all he loved. He was as comfortable speaking about astronomy, literature, politics, and Mexican history, all things he studied on his own, and with a voracious appetite for reading. He loved sharing learning with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. In this regard, Bobby was generous with his love, care and affection. Every member of his family knew how Bobby reveled in teaching the young ones about his stamp collection and the constellations in the nighttime sky.
Bobby met and fell in love with Anna in Bisbee in 1968. They married March 20th, 1970, and in Bisbee had three children, Tony, Fred, and Debbie. In 1976, the Alvarez family moved to Safford, where Steven and Nancy were later born. Together, Bobby and Anna made a life in Safford, where they bought a home and saw their family grow. Bobby’s family loved him dearly, and they all mourn his passing, yet knowing he will never stop watching over them. His presence in their lives will be continually felt for generations.
Private family graveside services for Bobby will be conducted Saturday, May 27, 2023.
A Celebration of Bobby’s life will be conducted Saturday, May 27, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., at the Bobby and Anna Alvarez residence in Safford.
Online condolences may be offered at www.viningfuneralhome.com
Arrangements are entrusted to Vining Funeral Home.