|George Anthony Cuevas, Elder|
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
HIS BACKGROUND: George is the son of Olga Rose and Rudolpho in Oakland. The couple had six other children: Juanita, Rudolpho Jr., Ramona, Michael, Elsa and Phelipe. George was the man of the house at an early age, fostering the work ethic and self-sacrificing nature that defines him today. From the time he was nine years old, he would go to the Santa Clara Valley with his migrant-worker relatives and work in the fields. The money went to help take care of his family, including buying school clothes for himself and his siblings.
“We would pick fruit in the summers,” George said. “It was extremely hard work. We would get up before the sun and be out in the field all day long. … We picked cherries, pears, apricots, peaches, prunes.”
George attended Lafayette Elementary School, Herbert Hoover Junior High and Oakland Technical High School. He attended Merritt Junior College for a year before being drafted into the Army in July of 1969. He served two years as combat support in the Vietnam War, working as an administrative clerk in Thailand.
After returning from the war, George worked in a litany of professions – he was an orderly, construction worker, bartender, computer operator, telecommunications analyst and salesman – before landing with EBMUD in 1989. He’s been there ever since.
HIS FAMILY: George’s cousin had a crush on his classmate from junior high school. Somehow, one summer night, George ended up talking to her on the phone until about 4 a.m.
“I didn’t notice we had talked all night until I looked up and somebody was waking up to go work in the field,” George said. “That was a good night for me. We had a softball game that night and I hit like three home runs. Then I was on the phone all night with this girl. I was the man.”
The girl’s name was Alicia. George was certainly interested, and he got the feeling Alicia was, too. They finally met on the first day of school at Oakland Tech.
“I thought he was smart,” Alicia said, “and he had gorgeous eyes.”
George described it as love at first sight, though he said he waited about a month before made his move.
“I asked my cousin what was up with him and her, because he didn’t make any advances,” George said. “He said nothing. Before he could finish answering, I had turned and gone looking for her. She was with two friends when I found her and they must’ve saw the look in my eyes because they backed away.”
George and Alicia married in December of 1973. Two years later, Ayana was born. In 1981, the couple had another daughter, Camia, and three years later added David two the family.
HIS CONVERSION: George grew up Jehovah Witness. He learned how to read by reading the Bible and from the age of seven was reading the Scriptures during service. His problems with the beliefs spurred him to walk away from religion.
He didn’t resume his search for God until 1994. He and his wife were talking about getting right with God. Alicia suggested they start with her family’s congregation – the South Berkeley Church of Christ. After a personal Bible study with Bro. Willie Brown Sr., the couple was baptized into the body of Christ.
HIS WALK: It didn’t take long for George to regain the faithful, active disposition he developed as a youth. He wound up teaching Bible classes, preaching, visiting the sick and shut-in and being a fixture among the leading bretheren. He currently serves as ana elder, in addition to teaching and being an assistant preacher.
“I just want to do the best and the most that I can do,” George said. “I don’t hold anything back. I don’t know how.”
SOMETHING YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT GEORGE: He has a thing for babies. “I loves babies,” George said. “Everything about a baby, how they feel, how they smell, how they sound.”