Elias was born in White Deer (Venado Blanco) on July 20, 1916 to Jose Cruz Contreras and Maria Santos Carbajal. He was baptized at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Dec. 3, 1916 by Father William Bender, to Godparents John Kotara and Marcelina Contreras. Elias grew up in El Santuario, Mexticacan, Jalisco, Mexico, where he met and on Dec. 18, 1939, married the beautiful Susana Sandoval. He graduated from and later taught for the school of hard knocks.
In 1941, he moved his family to Flagstaff, Ariz., where Elias worked as a construction laborer until he retired in 1973. In 1985, they left the high country for the deserts of Phoenix.
Elias lived long and lived well; he did not waste life. He enjoyed fishing and swimming, usually at the same time. He sang and he danced. He was a worker, a gardener and a cook (don’t ask for recipes – he didn’t write them down and they changed at will). He took long walks daily, visited with friends and family, socialized with everyone, and throughout his life, cared for random devoted mutts (all named Solovino). Elias was strong, candid, kind, humble, taught by example. Elias provided for his family and cared for those in need. When the work was done, he was ready for cold beer and an occasional trago of tequila. Raise your glasses, please – Salud!
Gracias por todo; to White Deer ISD Administration for sending the baseball caps that he was proud to wear, to White Deer News for celebrating his story, to the sweet lady, Sharon Williams, at the antique store for helping track down historic documents and to the folks at the Clint & Sons for sending that box of carne seca on his 100th birthday that he never stopped talking about - siempre te recordaremos.
In lieu of flowers, buy your kids new work boots and show them how to use them – he would have liked that.