Raul Alaniz

When Raul Alaniz learned that his teenage daughter, Rebecca, wanted a tattoo, he hated the idea. As a single father he had always been one for strict curfews, limited socializing and an emphasis on schoolwork.

Imagine Rebecca’s surprise, then, when the two of them wound up at a tattoo parlor together. She got a rose, he got skulls. Anything for his daughter.

“He was a really personable guy,” said Rebecca, now 33, “but I think he also made sure that people knew there was a time for seriousness and a time for fun.”

Alaniz died in El Centro on June 10 from complications of COVID-19. He was 53.

Born in Mexicali in Baja California, Alaniz grew up in Holtville, outside El Centro. Always studious, he excelled in math and maintained a 4.0 GPA at Holtville High School, his daughter said. When he graduated in 1985, he was the class salutatorian. Rebecca was born just a year later.

“He was very serious and strict for most of my childhood,” she recalled, noting that her father once greeted her high school boyfriend with a baseball bat, “but he was just making sure that I was taken care of.”

Through the years, Alaniz put his math skills to work as an accountant and bookkeeper. He was particularly good with charts and graphs, and he prided himself on his system for managing personal finances. He volunteered at Rebecca’s school functions and was a familiar figure on the sidelines of band competitions and athletic events. He met his partner, Ana Barraza, online, and was with her for the last 15 years.

“From day one, he was the perfect, one-in-a-million man,” Barraza said. “He would tell me he loved me 10, 20 times per day. He had a big heart, he was a little grouchy, but he was a kind person.”

When Alaniz wasn’t focused on fatherhood or finances, he loved going to concerts (tribute bands in particular), watching Law & Order reruns and spending time with his beloved pets. He had so many dogs—some fosters, some permanent—that neighbors regularly complained, but he didn’t care. He adored them all.

And though he was married and divorced several times in his life, Alaniz remained loyal to his families, past and present. He doted on his five step-kids and 11 grandchildren, and loved nothing more than to spend an afternoon with them at Disneyland or the San Diego County Fair.

“He wouldn’t treat anyone differently,” Rebecca said. “If you were part of his tribe, you were part of his tribe.”

At the time of his death, she added, her father had four more tattoos.

Raul Alaniz is survived by his mother, Francisca Alaniz; daughter Rebecca; his partner Ana; sister Rosa; 11 grandchildren and five step-children.


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