Clarence Zurita was born on May 21, 1931 to Mary Zurita in San Pedro, California. Clarence never knew his mother and would become orphaned at a very young age. He was blessed to be placed with the Woods Family in Watts, California, where he was embraced and reared in a loving home. It was at the family business–Woods Family Auto Parts–where Clarence developed a love for cars and the skill to fix almost anything…although many times in a unique way of his own! He attended David Starr Jordan High School and held many state records, some for decades, in Cross Country Track events. A few years after graduating high school, Clarence was drafted into the United States Army, where he served one tour of duty, fought in the Korean War and received an Honorary Discharge.
Clarence was a free spirit. He was known for his fun loving and generous nature. It is not surprising then that at 21 years old he captured the heart of the beautiful and intelligent Delores Bradley, who captured his in turn when he saw Delores standing on her porch when he was driving by. The two were joined in holy matrimony on October 9, 1953. Just as he did when he was a child, Clarence found himself embraced by a new family who loved him: Delores’ parents, three brothers and sisters soon became his own–they all loved him and he loved them.
Clarence would often say that marrying Delores was the highlight of his life! The two personified the term, “Opposites Attract.” They were polar opposites who together made a great team. They had two daughters who would fulfill Clarence’s lifelong dream of having a family of his own. The births of his beloved daughters, Satra and Janna, would not only fulfill that dream, but also bring him grandchildren. He made it his mission to be the greatest dad on earth, bringing them a surprise each day he came home from work, whether it was candy, toys, gifts, money, gags, or the latest tech gadget. The bond Clarence and Delores formed not only created a new family of his own, but also a large extended family through the many nieces and nephews that he would enjoy loving as an uncle.
Clarence was a go-getter. He was known as very independent, creative, and above all generous. Clarence’s early years developed him into a person who never wanted to see anyone struggle or go without. He was the uncle who bought cars, groceries, and countless other necessities to ensure that those he loved had whatever they needed He saw his giving as an expression of care and concern, and this care and concern extended to friends and others when they were down and out. He was also known to bless every child he came into contact with, with at least five dollars.
Clarence was a hard worker. He retired from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power after 31 years of service. Because he retired relatively young and still had plenty of energy, Clarence took on many other jobs after retirement. One job he loved, because it gave him the opportunity to make a difference while socializing all day, was as a Banner Holder on picket lines. He also enjoyed hanging out and playing dominoes in Magic Johnson Park with a group of friends who became known as the “Park Rangers.” Event in his later years, Clarence showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, at 74 years old, he became the oldest active member of the LA Deuces Motorcycle Club.
Clarence was the neighborhood dad. He always had a camper and would take his nieces and nephews and all the kids on the block to the beach, the park, on camping trips and many other places some had never gone. He was that father figure who filled the void for many in his neighborhood. There was nothing too good for his own daughters and he made a commitment to extend that love to many others whose paths he crossed.
Clarence was the life of the party! He was so much fun that he never met a stranger—or at least they were not strangers for long. He had a gift for connecting with people–he was charming, strikingly handsome and kind.
Clarence always left a lasting impression. From the time Satra and Janna were very young, whenever Clarence left them or they left him, he would tag them and excitedly exclaim, “Last Tag!” This ritual carried on to his granddaughters, Armani and Chanel. “Last Tag” was his way of ensuring that they would come back to “Tag” him again. Even during his final days, he kept up this ritual.
Clarence Zurita did his “Last Tag” and quietly departed from this life on May 11, 2020, to go to his eternal home. To cherish his precious memory, Clarence leaves his loving wife, Delores, his two daughters and apples of his eye, Satra Zurita and Janna Zurita, the granddaughters he adored, Armani Delores Taylor and Chanel Grace Crutchfield, a favorite niece Maya Dozier, and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and dear friends who will miss him greatly.