Ray Uruburu was a devoted family man… a man with a huge heart and a lively sense of humor. A man who was proud of his ancestry, and meanwhile, someone who loved his hometown and helped to preserve its history through community work and volunteering. In other words, Ray Uruburu was a true San Pedran.
Born to immigrant parents from the Basque Country in Spain, Ray Uruburu spent his early years in the heart of San Pedro on 10th and Centre Street across from the old Mary Star Church. His parents ran a boarding house for merchant marines from Europe. He became part of an era that has been called “The Greatest Generation,” the beginning of middle class America. Raised during the Depression, he was drafted to the “Big One” (World War II) as a senior in high school. When he came home, he met his neighbor and wife, Doralee, over the fence. They were married for 65 years. They had a daughter, Michele, and lived happily near Averill Park.
Like many San Pedrans, Ray enjoyed combining traditions from the Old Country with American customs. He was known for his family Soup Kitchen parties cooking up garbanzo soup, and his picnics at Averill Park – affectionately called the “Basco Fiasco” – barbecuing Spanish chorizos.
Like a true San Pedran, his family came first. In addition to hosting his festive gatherings, Ray was extremely creative and handy, and he always had time to build or fix something for any family member or neighbor, young or old.
Ray was very dedicated to serving the San Pedro community. He and Doralee loved volunteering for the Mary Star Fiesta, which they did for over 25 years. He also worked with the San Pedro Historical Society, Meals on Wheels and donated his time and heart to the homeless that came to Mary Star Church for food and sometimes, just conversation.
My Uncle Ray would think it silly to pay tribute to him in a fancy magazine, for he was simply just doing what he loved for his family and for his town. But I think he was an exceptional guy. He was proud to be Basque, proud to be an American and most of all, proud to be a San Pedran. spt