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SCLL Remembers Frank Navarro, Eastridge Little League President - East San Jose CA

03/02/2017, 6:30pm PST
By Ted Mathias,

Rest in Peace Frank Navarro

From the San Jose Mercury News


Frank Navarro, 35, was reportedly stabbed in an altercation involving a would-be patron who had been turned away after presenting a fake ID at the entry to Tres Gringos Cabo Cantina on South Second Street, according to a co-worker and family members. Navarro was rushed to a local hospital, where he died of his wounds.

According to a law enforcement source, a vehicle seen fleeing the scene was stopped about seven miles west near Saratoga Avenue and Kiely Boulevard, and two people inside were detained in association with the deadly stabbing. Their involvement, if any, was not immediately clear Sunday morning.

San Jose police have not confirmed the coworker’s and family’s account, identified the victim nor described any suspects.

Navarro was president of Eastridge Little League, after years spent playing, coaching and volunteering. Hundreds of family members, friends and others gathered to mourn Navarro at a vigil Sunday night, filling the infield of an Eastridge ball field on Cunningham Avenue.

“He was one of the best coaches out here,” said Rudy Perez, 20. “He made sure we got our grades up. … He always made us do better, on and off the field.”

“Little League was his life,” said Navarro’s girlfriend, Vera Covarrubias.

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Rose Herrera, a former city vice mayor who knew Navarro through his work with kids’ baseball and his coaching at Overfelt High, called the tragedy “a big loss for his family and for the community.”

Navarro grew up in East San Jose. At Overfelt, he was on the wrestling and football teams, playing a defensive lineman on a team that won the Central Coast Section championship.

He attended De Anza College, and worked in China teaching English. He also worked several years as a preschool classroom aide at Grant Elementary in San Jose Unified, and returned to Overfelt to coach varsity football and baseball.

“He was great with the kids,” Overfelt Principal Vito Chiala said. “He saw (athletics) as way to keep them engaged as they made their way through school.”

More recently, Navarro worked for a security contractor and also for at least 10 years in security for a company that owned downtown San Jose clubs, including VooDoo Lounge, San Jose Bar and Grill and Tres Gringos, Covarrubias said.

But his focus was on Little League.

His grandfather, Robert Delgado, was the longtime coach and board member of Eastridge Little League.

“He and grandpa were always side by side at the field working together,” said Navarro’s uncle, Eric Velo, said. “He grew up through Little League.”

He became a coach, then a few years ago, he agreed to take over leadership of the Eastridge league when longtime President Jerry Soriano retired.

“It involved a lot of time for a young man his age,” Soriano said. A few years ago, Navarro set his mind to finding a way to repair a league field. “Our PeeWee field was being attacked by gophers and was basically unsafe to play on,” he said. Navarro pitched the league’s case and won a free makeover from Oakland-based O.C. Jones and Sons through its TLC for Kids Ballparks program.

Navarro oversaw several levels of play, from T-ball through the majors and seniors divisions, developed special training for coaches, raised funds and umpired games. And he was thrilled that a change in Little League rules would allow him to also coach this year, Covarrubias said. was an avid San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan, and loved caps — he designed a new ball cap every year. “Our cars are overflowing with hats,” Covarrubias said.

Navarro was known as a jokester who loved to make people laugh.

“He was the goofiest guy,” Covarrubias said.

“He had a big heart,” said his uncle Mark Delgado, athletic director at Overfelt, echoing sentiments of others. “If you asked him to do something, he’d do it.”

Navarro was stepping in for a besieged employee Saturday night, when the club denied entry to a tattooed customer who allegedly presented someone else’s ID, according to family members. The disgruntled man, accompanied by others, later returned and an altercation broke out. Navarro, as security manager was summoned, and was fatally stabbed. Police were summoned shortly after midnight.

His shocked family reflected on the irony that a man whose life was filled with kindness and who disliked confrontation ended up losing his life to violence.

“He loved everybody,” his step-father, Robert Delgado said. “He never liked drama.”

Besides Delgado, Navarro is survived by his mother Regina Delgado, his brother Michael Delgado, and his father Larry Navarro, all of San Jose; his brothers, Michael Joseph Delgado of Sacramento and Larry Navarro Jr. of Los Angeles; and his grandparents, Rosie Delgado and Lorenzo and Mary Navarro.

“He didn’t have any biological kids of his own, but he had hundreds of kids from Eastridge Little League and Overfelt,” Velo said, “kids that he coached and mentored to keep them off the streets and have a chance in life to become good, productive adults.”

“Frank loved ‘his’ kids, and never gave up on anyone,” wrote Sherri Greer, whose son Zachary used to coach and work with Navarro. And, she added, “he had a smile like no one else.”

“I’m still crying about it,” said Mauro Diaz, an Eastridge coach who had planned to meet Navarro at the league’s field Sunday to get it prepared for the upcoming season’s opening day. “It’s just a big loss to our community, our baseball league and any kid who knew him. It’s just a very tragic day for us.”

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