July 12, 1925 – September 6, 2021 (age 96)
Papa, as he was known to his children, peacefully passed away in their care and in his home as he had wished early on the morning of September 6th. He will be greatly missed by his sons, José Armando and Fernando, his siblings, Milagros and Miguel Ángel, his caregiver, Lidia, and by loving family and friends dispersed throughout the Northeast, Midwest and Florida.
Born in eastern Cuba in 1925, Armando had to leave his studies at the age of 14 to help support a large family of 8 siblings. His father, José, better known as Pepe, was a telegraphist and farmer from Guantánamo who instilled a strong work ethic in his middle son. Armando would tell stories of spending laborious days tending to farm chores and then working at sugarcane plantations in his youth. In his early adult life he worked long shifts as a railway man, traveling the country and sampling the variety and richness of the people, music, food and customs of his then homeland.
In 1951 he married the love of his life, Clara, with whom he would spend the next 55 years. Theirs would be a close and loving relationship. A year later, their eldest son, José Armando was born, followed 5 years later by the youngest, Fernando. Their lives in the historic and peaceful city of Bayamo were filled with the comings and goings of countless family members and friends. That world ended for them in 1959 with the advent of the Cuban revolution and the subsequent arrival of communism.
In 1962, Armando and his family sought asylum in the United States. Carrying nothing but four small suitcases filled with clothes and a few, precious personal items, the family arrived in Miami where they would stay for only a few months before relocating to Boston, the special city they would call home for the rest of their lives.
To provide for his family and ensure a better life for his two children, Armando worked at several jobs after arriving in the U.S. He manufactured rubber heels for shoes, cut meat at a butchery, worked at a confectionery plant, and ultimately retired from Sears Roebuck where he had been a warehouseman for 17 years.
Despite the many hardships and challenges of navigating a world entirely different from the one they had left behind in Cuba, the family prospered. Clara retired from her work as a Central Supply Technician at the Boston Hospital for Women. She and Armando were the proudest of parents when they witnessed the college graduations of both their sons, a dream for which they had worked hard to make a reality.
Armando was a firm believer that having an education was at the heart of having a successful life. He was an avid reader and well-informed conversationalist on virtually any topic. One of his first major purchases after settling the family in Boston was the 30-volume set of The Encyclopedia Americana, which he pored over nightly for years and used as a tool for learning English. He had eclectic tastes in literature and the arts and his sons have memories of being taken on frequent visits to the Museum of Fine Arts to appreciate the wonders of the world showcased there. He enjoyed listening to music from his extensive record collection and was known to occasionally grab Clara by the hand to dance an impromptu rumba.
Although Cuban-born and raised, Armando loved and felt very strongly about his new homeland. He would be forever grateful for the opportunities it gave him and his family. He proudly became an American citizen in 1974 and would often declare, “This is the greatest country in the world. Here, anything is truly possible.”
His spirit will live on in the hearts and memories of family and friends. A favorite quote of his by George Santayana captures it well, “La vida no se ha hecho para comprenderla, sino para vivirla” / Life has not been made to understand it, but to live it.”
Services will be conducted privately at a future date.
Donations can be made to Good Shepherd Community Care at :
Good Shepherd Community Care
160 Wells Avenue
Newton, MA 02459
To send flowers to Armando's family, please visit our floral store.