Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/NATION -

‘The Ap­ple Man’ Jan­uary 30, 1930 — Oc­to­ber 25, 2018

Owner of Eli’s Ap­ples, and re­tired Flight En­gi­neer, Elias L. Tavarez went home to be with our Lord and Sav­ior Je­sus Christ on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 25, 2018 at his home in Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia at the age of 88. Eli was known for his smile and laugh­ter, for lov­ing his ap­ple cus­tomers, and for shar­ing the joy of his re­la­tion­ship with the Lord.

Born Jan­uary 30, 1930, in McAllen, Texas, Eli was raised in an af­flu­ent fam­ily of 7 chil­dren, with a strong work ethic and fam­ily val­ues. He set out to forge a path of his own with a child­hood dream to fly air­planes. He served in the United States Army from 19531956, and from there was em­ployed at Beechcraft Avi­a­tion in Kansas City, build­ing the Beechcraft Model 18. He was a grad­u­ate of Northrop Aero­nau­ti­cal In­sti­tute of In­gle­wood, Cal­i­for­nia where he met and mar­ried the for­mer Bar­bara Kaye Kim­ball, who passed away on Novem­ber 10, 2016. He worked as a fly­ing me­chanic for Fly­ing Tigers Air­lines from 1956-1958 and served in the US Air­force Re­serve from 1956-1961. In 1958 he was em­ployed with Western Air­lines and went into flight en­gi­neer train­ing. In pur­suit of ful­fill­ing his child­hood dreams he ap­plied for a po­si­tion with World Air­ways out of Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia in 1962 where he flew as a Flight En­gi­neer for 35 Years. Eli moved his fam­ily to Danville, Cal­i­for­nia in 1966 to build their fam­ily home. Dur­ing that time he was fly­ing the Boe­ing DC-8, 707, 727, 747, and DC-10 around the world. His vast trav­els in­cluded flights to Viet­nam fly­ing the troops and ma­chin­ery be­tween war zones. On March 29, 1975 World Air­ways op­er­ated the last air­lift flight out of Da Nang, Viet­nam. Eli flew one of the two 727’s which landed with Ed Daily, owner of World Air­ways. Thou­sands rushed the air­plane as it took off on a taxi way un­der heavy fire as re­ported on CBS news March 30, 1975. He also ex­pe­ri­enced many years of fly­ing to Mecca, Saudi Ara­bia, bring­ing those of the Mus­lim faith to their an­nual Hajj. Eli op­er­ated the first 747 ever, as well as the flip nose 747, fly­ing cargo and then com­mer­cial un­til he re­tired from World Air­ways in 1997.

While liv­ing in Danville, an air­line pi­lot’s wife, Betty Huffines had in­vited the fam­ily to First Bap­tist Church of Danville where both Eli and Bar­bara came to know Je­sus Christ and their lives were for­ever changed. Eli’s fam­ily served at First Bap­tist Church, open­ing their home and their hearts to the com­mu­nity un­til 1974 when they moved to the Lodi, Cal­i­for­nia area, to build a fam­ily home in the coun­try. They be­came mem­bers of First Bap­tist Church of Lodi where Eli served as an El­der and ac­tive mem­ber. To­gether Eli and Bar­bara started and main­tained sev­eral church and com­mu­nity min­istries, one of which was a widow & wid­ow­ers’ group to care for the needs of the el­derly. They also cared for mis­sion­ar­ies and in­ter­na­tional

stu­dents, bring­ing them to live on their prop­erty for months and even years at a time. They opened their home every hol­i­day with hos­pi­tal­ity over­flow­ing to those who had no place to go. They were also for­mer mem­bers of First Bap­tist Churches of Galt and Her­ald, Cal­i­for­nia.

Eli was a strong and firm leader, very godly, ex­tremely pos­i­tive, a provider and a pro­tec­tor. He be­lieved in tithing and giv­ing gen­er­ously be­cause of his Chris­tian faith and re­spon­si­bil­ity to stew­ard well the bless­ings of the Lord. He was a hero to his own and ex­tended fam­i­lies. Eli cared for the home­less and the less for­tu­nate not only with his time but with his gen­er­ous do­na­tions and re­sources. He shared his love for the Lord with any­one who would lis­ten and sup­ported many Chris­tian churches and or­ga­ni­za­tions, Chris­tian schools and started mul­ti­ple Span­ish min­istries in churches and homes in the lo­cal area. He would pick up hitch­hik­ers with­out hes­i­ta­tion, take them to church, put them to work on his ranch, give them money, a warm meal, and tell them about the Lord. In 1981, while still fly­ing, Eli re­moved the grape vine­yards from their Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia prop­erty, and planted ap­ple trees, a project de­signed to take Eli and Bar­bara into their re­tire­ment years. Soon af­ter they be­gan to reap a har­vest and be­tween Eli’s flights, they would make week­end road trips to the Bay Area to sell their ap­ples at the San Fran­cisco Farm­ers Mar­kets. Con­sid­er­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of their Fuji Ap­ples they de­cided to bring their busi­ness home to open Eli’s Ap­ples on their Peltier Road prop­erty in Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia. The two would pol­ish ap­ples by hand for their cus­tomers. For years it was com­mon to see Eli Tavarez walk­ing the streets of Lodi for his morn­ing ex­er­cise, greet­ing every per­son he would see, and de­liv­er­ing ap­ples with a hug and a smile. Eli’s Ap­ples will re­main in busi­ness un­der the op­er­a­tion of his fam­ily, and will con­tinue to serve the com­mu­nity and carry on the legacy in mem­ory and honor of Elias L. Tavarez.

Eli was pre­ceded in death by his beloved wife Bar­bara, mar­ried for 60 years, and is greatly missed by their four chil­dren and spouses Ge­orge and Lori, Elias and Pamela, Michael and Shawn, and Michelle; grand­chil­dren and their spouses Jac­que­line, Ni­cholas, Jes­sica, Stacy, Elias and McKenna, Cierra, Blaze, David, Keith, Kevin, Brook­lyin, Michael, Gabriel, Kylie, Gar­rett and Kate, Blake and Han­nah, Ro­man and Whit­ney, Holden, Pierce, Sophia Vic­to­ria; and great-grand chil­dren Makai, Madi­son, Grif­fin, Kay­dence, Jay­den, Ryver, Jensen Levi, Zyon Grace, De­clan Isa­iah and Sawyer. He is also sur­vived by three sis­ters and their fam­i­lies, Manuela Tavarez Mar­tin, Miriam Tavarez Ma­cias, and Glafira Tavarez Her­nan­dez. “Our Fam­ily is a Cir­cle of Strength and Love, Founded on Faith, Joined in Love, Kept by God, To­gether For­ever!”

A Cel­e­bra­tion of Life will be held on Satur­day, Novem­ber 10, at 11:00am at First Bap­tist Church of Lodi, 267 N. Mills Av­enue, Lodi, Cal­i­for­nia. Our Fam­ily would like to thank the doc­tors and nurs­ing staff of Kaiser Per­ma­nente South Sacra­mento, as well as the Kin­dred Hospice nurses and home health aides, and all who served our fa­ther with ten­der lov­ing care. We thank all our friends and fam­ily and church fam­ily, our lo­cal com­mu­nity and our ap­ple cus­tomers, for all your love and sup­port at this time and through­out the years. We love and ap­pre­ci­ate you, May God richly bless you, The Tavarez Fam­ily.

Please sign the guest book at www.lodinews.com/guest­book.

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