In Memoriam: Octavio Ignacio Rosales Arriola, WOB translator (2005)

JANUARY 31, 2005

Octavio Ignacio Rosales Arriola (1955-2005)

Women on the Border, Inc. has lost a translator, friend and supporter.  Octavio Ignacio Rosales Arriola  was killed in a tragic car accident in Spain on January 29, 2005. He was 49 years old.  Octavio and his twin sister Ramona, who lived but one day, were born on June 15, 1955 to Maria Luz Arriola de Rosales in Los Angeles, California. Octavio is survived by his wife Alicia, two children Elissa and David, his father Richard Garcia Rosales, four brothers, Rick, Guillermo, Henry, Mario, and six sisters Elvia, Terry, Guillermina, Carmen, Rosemary, Ana Luz and dozens of nieces and nephews.

Octavio, “Tavi” and “Tubby” was a middle child who thrived on adventure. As a child, pranks and small fires were attributed to his mischievous character, while as a young adult his passion for adventure and his talent for making new friends took him to explore Europe with hardly a penny in his pocket. Finding his way to the birthplace of past generations of Arriolas in the Spanish Basque region, he eventually found work as an English teacher and translator in the small southeastern town of Elche, Alicante in the province of Valencia. There he also met his wife Alicia. In the 1980s Ali and Tavi relocated to California to be among family and to raise two children, Elissa and David. Octavio by now had entered the world of international trade and business aided by his ability to speak at least five languages and his astonishing ability to make new friends.

In 1996, he was the President of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, California. In this role he traveled extensively throughout Mexico promoting trade for Latin-American businesses in Southern California and working with such dignitaries as then President Ernesto Zedillo and U.S. Representative Cruz Bustamante. In 1997, Octavio and Alicia returned to Elche. Having survived cancer and hepatitis he sought the more tranquil life of the Spaniards. During the last years of his life Women on the Border, Inc. benefited from the breadth of his knowledge and experience in Spanish-English linguistics when he and Ali translated several essays that continue to promote awareness of human rights concerns at the U.S.- Mexico border.

Tavi loved to sing, tell stories and play the guitar. His gourmet talents brought people together and he often said that he was happiest when there was a house full of people making noise from eating and enjoying each other’s company. His wit, political sarcasm, charm and passion for life, philosophy, ideas and conversation produced lifelong friendships. His travels and adventures made him worldly and sophisticated while his generosity and struggles with health kept him poor in finances but rich in the kindness of amistad. He will be missed by a very large group of siblings who could never compete for the attention drawn to the brother who in the time it took him to translate an off-color joke or cuss word could make us learn, cry and laugh about or with him. May we take from his sudden death the truth in the words he imparted to a niece he sheltered when she traveled to Spain: “we are on planet earth to live, love and share.”


Writer, attorney, Lawprof Emerita from Northern Illinois University.
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One Response to In Memoriam: Octavio Ignacio Rosales Arriola, WOB translator (2005)

  1. Richard Robles says:

    Octavio (“Tubby”) was one of my dearest friends. When he Alicia and the kids would visit my home it soon would fill with Tubby’s wit and laughter. I remember vividly one evening in 1994 after a heart crushing break-up with then my fiancee, he knocked on my bedroom door and gently told me”Richard I know you don’t want to hear this but that women was no good for you”! I have never forgotten that piece of living wisdom he gave me and I shall miss his laughter love and those big strong arms with which he use to bear hug me.
    I shall forever cherish his friendship, love and memory as long as I live.

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