PROFILE OF A
Louis Azevedo Sr. was born on a warm spring evening April 26, 1934 in the South San Joaquin Valley city of Bakersfield, California. His mother, Esther Delgado Azevedo gave birth to him in a one room house with a midwife present. His father was Caterino Azevedo. Louis is a descendant of the Tejon Indian Tribe whose home is located near Fort Tejon, CA on the Grapevine Highway along the Interstate 5 corridor that leads to the Los Angeles basin. He is not quite sure why he has a Portuguese last name and jokes about it. He has one younger brother named John who still resides in Bakersfield. He was told by family members he had ten other half brothers and sisters who lived in the Fresno area. Louis and John went to an all-black student school located on the south side of Bakersfield.
Louis enlisted in the U.S. Army in Bakersfield in 1953 and was sent to Fort Ord for his basic training. Upon completion he was shipped to Korea and placed on the front lines with the 2nd Division under Company E-3 Platoon. He was a machine gun squad member using the light .30 caliber air cooled weapon. Later on, his company was put on standby in the rear area of the battle fields to fend off North Koreans who were raiding military installations up and down the Korean Peninsula. It got so bad that the rest of Lou’s regiment had to go to the south peninsula to beef up their operation. Months later, after everything in the area was under control, his unit was reassigned to the front lines. A 39th Parallel cease fire was finally signed, but his unit was still on full alert as some occasional flare-ups occurred during their night and day patrols; and it remained that way until he was sent back to the states. After his tour, he was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington to finish his enlistment. He re-upped for three more years and was sent to various training schools that helped him during his years serving with the Army.
Louis met his first wife, Adele Caballero at the birthday party of a friend. They were married in Bakersfield in the fall of 1959, and were blessed with two sons. Six years later, she contacted Valley Fever and passed away from the debilitating disease. Several years later, he remarried for a second time, to Virginia Reyes in the city of San Jose. After all their children were grown they unfortunately divorced.
After discharge from the military Louis went to work for Pepsi Cola Distributing in San Jose, where he remained for 20 years. He also has been employed by Frito-Lay, San Jose City Parks Department, and the Sheriff’s Department in Bakersfield. He was employed by the Santa Rosa School District when he retired in 2001.
Having lived in Bakersfield, Los Banos, San Jose, Turlock, Petaluma, and San Rafael, California Louis decided he would like to make Fresno his home. He always made it a point to visit museums wherever he traveled or lived, and Fresno was no exception. After visiting Fresno’s Veterans Memorial Museum “Home of the Legion of Valor” Louis liked it so much he decided to become a volunteer. Being a docent has given him the opportunity to meet people who have military backgrounds like himself. Louis enjoys talking to veterans and meeting the many school children and array of museum visitors he meets during his shift.