Los Gatos Canyon Air Disaster Victims Finally Honored & Remembered by Name

Perhaps you remember hearing the Woody Guthrie song “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos“. In fitting style, it recounts the stories of twenty eight migrant workers who perished in a plane crash and were anonymously buried.

Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno

All too late — but finally — these lost souls will be remembered by name with a historic re-dedication and memorial Mass, presided over by Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno. Fresno’s own KNXT television has compiled a great resource that shares much of the information about these men and women. KNXT has shared the following:

In 1948, a plane crash in a valley near Coalinga claimed the lives of 32 souls. Among the dead, 28 migrant workers who were laid to rest in Fresno’s Holy Cross Cemetery. A simple marker denotes the grave, the names of the migrants seemly lost to history. But then, the words of a popular song changed everything. “The airplane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon, A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,” Now those who perished will finally be honored by name, thanks to generous contributions from the valley and across the country. The community is invited to be a part of this historic re-dedication and memorial mass. Bishop Armando Ochoa will preside on Monday, September second at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, 2105 West Belmont Avenue in Fresno. For information about the re-dedication mass, call Catholic Cemeteries at (559) 488-7449.

This Mass and re-dedication by Bishop Ochoa on the morning of September 2, Labor Day, seems a fitting tribute to those who labored and will finally be known by name:

  1. Miguel Negrete Alvarez
  2. Francisco Llamas Durán
  3. Santiago Garcia Elizondo
  4. Rosalio Padilla Estrada
  5. Tomás Aviña de Gracia
  6. Bernabé López Garcia
  7. Salvador Sandoval Hernández
  8. Severo Medina Lara
  9. Elias Trujillo Macias
  10. José Rodriguez Macias
  11. Tomás Padilla Márquez
  12. Luis López Medina
  13. Manuel Calderón Merino
  14. Luis Cuevas Miranda
  15. Martin Razo Navarro
  16. Ignacio Pérez Navarro
  17. Román Ochoa Ochoa
  18. Ramón Ramirez Paredes
  19. Apolonio Ramirez Placencia
  20. Guadalupe Lara Ramirez
  21. Alberto Carlos Raygoza
  22. Guadalupe Hernández Rodriguez
  23. Maria Santana Rodriguez
  24. Juan Valenzuela Ruiz
  25. Wenceslao Flores Ruiz
  26. José Valdivia Sánchez
  27. Jesús Meza Santos
  28. Baldomero Marcas Torres

Members of the crew:
Francis “Frank” Atkinson, Long Beach, Pilot
Marion Harlow Ewing, Balboa, Co-Pilot
Lillian “Bobbie” Atkinson, Long Beach, Stewardess
Frank E. Chaffin, Berkeley, Immigration Guard

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

  • Lloyd Kim

    Lisa, my best friend and I would like to attend the re-dedication and memorial mass
    at 10 AM on Sept. 2. Could you please let me know how long it will last? When will the mass be over? Thank you for your attention to this comment.
    Lloyd Kim, My email address is lloydkim9@gmail.com. Please let me know.


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