Albert E. Navarra, a member of one of Tracy’s pioneering farming families, passed away at his Vernalis home on August 6, 2018 with his loving wife Celeste at his bedside. He was 91 years old.
Albert was born on September 25, 1927 in Los Angeles, the youngest of six children born to Marie and Carmelo Navarra. He graduated from Canoga Park High School in 1945 and married his high school sweetheart, Celeste Burnham, on September 5, 1948. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary next month.
Albert began farming in the San Fernando Valley in 1947 with his father and three brothers, and the entire Navarra family moved their farming operations to the Tracy area in the early 1950s. Albert and Celeste built their home on Vernalis Road in 1954 where they lived ever since. Albert and his brother Carl were partners for several decades in C&A Navarra Farms, growing tomatoes, other row crops, almonds and walnuts. They invested in commercial, industrial and residential real estate throughout Tracy and beyond. Albert was a founding board member of Westside Bank.
Albert was very involved in civic activities and was an early board member of Tracy Community Memorial Hospital. He was a founding member of the Tracy Elks Lodge, an active member of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and the Italian Catholic Federation, and was one of the first members of the Tracy Racquet Club. He loved playing both racquetball and tennis and spent countless hours in Tracy and on vacation playing those sports. He had many friends in the Tracy farming and business communities, and could be found most mornings having coffee with his friends at local coffee shops.
Albert was an experienced pilot who owned several planes over the years. He and Celeste would frequently fly throughout the Western United States, but one of their favorite destinations was Watsonville, where they had a condominium on the beach. They loved to travel and traveled around the world. One thrill of their lives was to fly on the Concorde.
Family was the most important thing to Albert and family gatherings took top priority. At most parties, Albert could be found with the other Navarra men, arguing at the barbecue and telling each other the right way to barbecue. The friendly laughter and good-natured teasing made every guest feel at home.
Albert was preceded in death by his parents, Marie and Carmelo Navarra; his brothers, Anthony Navarra, Carl Navarra and Pete Navarra; his sisters, Rose Patello and Genevieve Profito; sisters-in-law Avis Navarra and Lena Navarra; brothers-in-law Leonard Patello and Bias Profito; and two nieces, Carleen Gates and Antoinette Stratton. He is survived by his wife, Celeste, eight nieces and five nephews, and many great nieces and nephews. He was the cornerstone of the Navarra family and he will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
The family would like to thank Dr. Andris Lazdins, Kindred Hospice and Traveling Angels for their kind assistance during the past month. Donations in Albert’s memory can be made to cancer research at the UC Davis Cancer Center, 4900 Broadway, Suite 1830, Sacramento, Ca 95820, or at https://give.ucdavis.edu/Donate/YourGift/CC48317.
Visitation will be held on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 9 a.m. followed by a rosary at 9:30 a.m. at Fry Memorial Chapel, 550 Central Ave., Tracy. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 11 a.m. at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 163 E. Eaton Ave, Tracy, with burial to follow at Tracy Public Cemetery, 501 E. Schulte Rd, Tracy.