FEBRUARY 12, 1937 - MARCH 4, 2006


A servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Pastor Ruben Cota Arellano, Sr., peacefully entered the presence of the Lord on March 4, 2006 at the age of 69 in Hayward, California. Pastor of the Hayward Apostolic Assembly Church on Harvey Avenue for the past 29 years, he left his mark on both the congregation and the Hayward Community and will be cherished by faithful members, friends and family. He was a pioneer to many innovative projects including radio programming (La Voz Apostolica), sound engineering, and videography. Native American born, Elder of the Muwekma Ohlone Indian Tribe, Ruben C. Arellano, Sr. was born in Coachela Valley in 1937 and raised in Russell City, California on famous Adams Street.

Ruben represented the sixth generation of a line of Ohlone Indians whose lives were disrupted by the expanding Hispanic Empire and the American Conquest of California. All of Ruben's paternal Ohlone ancestors were missionized into the Mission San Jose and Mission Dolores. Ruben's lineage is descended from his great-great-great-grandmother Efrena Quennatole who was born in 1797 and was of the Karkin Ohlone/Napian Tribe of the Northern San Francisco Bay and his great-great-great-grandfather, Liberato Culpecse who was born in 1787 and baptized at Mission Dolores and who was of the Jalquin Ohlone Tribe of the greater Hayward/San Lorenzo/San Leandro and south Oakland area.
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Efrena and Liberato's daughter was Maria Efrena. She was born in 1832 and was baptized at the Mission San Jose and buried at the Ohlone Cemetery in Fremont, CA. Maria Efrena had married a Mission San Jose Indian man named Panfilio Yakilamne and their daughter was Avelina Cornates who was born in 1863 and was baptized at Mission San Jose. Avelina was buried at the Ohlone Cemetery in October 1904. One of Avelina's daughters was Ruben's grandmother, Mercedes Marine. Mercedes was born on September 2, 1895 on the Pleasanton Rancheria and was baptized at the Mission San Jose and also buried at the Ohlone Cemetery in 1914 at the age of 19.

Mercedes godparents were Captain Jose Antonio and his wife Jacoba Antonio (Mayen) ; they were the leaders of the tribal community. After the death of Avelina, Mercedes lived with her godmother, Jacoba on the Alisal Rancheria in Pleasanton, CA.

Sometime around 1908, Mercedes had married Francisco Arellano and they had two children together: Ruben's father, Alberto Marine Arellano, born January 13, 1909 and his aunt, Edwina Arellano, born June 29, 1910. Alberto was baptized at Mission San Jose. Prior to Albert's birth, Francisco Arellano, who had emigrated from Mexico in 1905, was already involved in the Ohlone Tribal community. Francisco served as a godparent along with Susana Nichols to Francisca Guzman's last son Paul Espinosa in September, 1907.

In 1910, Ruben's grandmother, Mercedes Marine, age 15, was listed along with her son Albert Marine and her brother Dario Marine on the Indian Population Census for Indian Town in Pleasanton. Mercedes was living with her godmother, Octavio (Jacoba) Antonio, her sister-in-law Catherine Peralta, her niece Beatrice Peralta (Marine) , Catherine's first cousin Frank Guzman, and her brother Dario Marine.

In 1928, the Congress passed the California Indian Jurisdictional Act in order to address, in part, the lack of benefits due to the California Indians as a result of taking all of their land without any compensation.

In 1935 Albert Marine Arellano married Herminia Cota, they had 5 children together: Ruben, Lydia, Joel, Ishmael, and Samuel. Ruben was the eldest, and looked up to by the rest of his siblings. He lived in Russell City with his parents, brothers and sister, and later Hayward for the remainder of his life. Ruben attended Russell City School and Hayward High School.

During the 1950s, meetings about the BIA and California Indian Claims Settlement were held at Ruben's great-aunt Trina Marine's house and Albert Arellano made sure that his family was signed up with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Years later, during the early 1960s, all of the Arellano families were also listed as Members of the "Ohlone Chapter, American Indian Historical Society."

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On February 21, 1960 Ruben Cota Arellano married Ofelia Flores in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Soon after, Ruben was drafted into the U.S. Army on July 5, 1960 where he served and protected his country in Korea, until his honorable discharge on July 4, 1966. While serving in the U.S. Army as a Corporal in Korea, his duties involved being a medical attendant and ambulance driver. After his honorable military discharge, he and his bride settled in Hayward where they raised three children, Ruben, Jr., Arthur, and Patricia. Ruben became employed by Sunnyside Nursery as the head horticulturist, where he worked for 13 years. This would lead to his first successful entrepreneurial venture as proprietor of Earthlife Tropicals Nursery, which he operated for eight years until his calling to be a pastor.

By 1984, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal leadership formed a formal tribal government in order to articulate with Federal, State and local agencies about legal and cultural issues confronting the disenfranchised Muwekma Ohlone Tribal community. As the Tribal Council developed policies and political strategies to deal with legal issues, Ruben and his sister and brothers and their families had been introduced to the effort by the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe to re-obtain Federal Recognition from the U.S. Government.

Ruben was very proud of his Muwekma Ohlone Indian heritage. He lived to see the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe obtain a formal determination by the BIA of previous unambiguous Federal recognition, a successful lawsuit against the Department of the Interior, and a positive determination that 100% of the enrolled membership are directly descended from a member of the previously recognized Verona Band, which was also determined to be a historic tribe. As an Elder of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, Ruben gave his blessings to the work and effort of the Muwekma Tribal leadership in addressing the Tribe's restoration and revitalization. Ruben attended many of the Tribe's annual events including the annual Muwekma Cultural Campout and Muwekma Christmas Party.

On a personal level, Ruben C. Arellano, Sr. was a giving and caring man. His generosity was demonstrated through counseling, food-banks, and charitable donations. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and especially his grandchildren. His passing leaves a major void in the lives of everyone within the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Ofelia Flores Arellano; son, Ruben Jr. and wife, Vikki; son, Arthur Steven and wife, Renee; daughter, Patricia Renee and husband, Alexander Caso. He was blessed with six grandchildren, Ruben III (16), Brianna Victoria (15), Stefan Fink (12), Andre Blake (10), Roman Kenneth (8), and Olivia Juliana (5 mos.). Pastor Arellano was preceded in death by his brother, Aurelio Nava and sister, Esther Chaparro. He is survived by his siblings, Elizabeth Scott, Lydia Arellano, Joel C. Arellano, Sr., Ishmael Arellano, Samuel Arellano, Edwina Tarrant, Rose Farrell, Grace De La Riva, and Raul Nava as well as many nieces and nephews.

Following in the footsteps of his father, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother, and great-great-great grandmother of his Ohlone ancestors, Ruben carried himself with a quiet dignity. Go with peace Ruben and join your relations and ancestors and know that you made this world a better place for your family, people, and Tribe.


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Ruben C. Arellano, Sr. was born in Coachela, California on February 12, 1937 to his parents Alberto and Herminia Arellano, where he lived in Russell City and later Hayward all of his life. Ruben, the oldest of 11 children, attended Russell City School and Hayward High School.

Ruben started working at the tender age of 13 years in various nurseries in the area, where he enjoyed the outdoors and gardening. He worked for Nakashima Nursery for 3 years, Twin Nursery for 4 years, and rose grower Checry City Nursery for a year and a half until he was promoted to supervisor at the well-known Sunnyside Nursery and worked another 13 years. Later, he saved enough money to purchase his own nursery-Earthlife Tropicals. Because of his greater love for God to serve his community, he sold his nursery to become a full-time Pastor to the local Hayward Apostolic Assembly on Harvey Avenue where he served faithfully, for the past 28 1/2 years shepherding families.

On February 21, 1960, while serving with the U.S. Army as a Corporal, a medical assistant and ambulance driver in Korea, he married his sweetheart, Ofelia Flores, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Later they relocated to Hayward where they raised three children, Ruben, Jr., Arthur, Patricia, and six lovely grandchildren.

With his intelligence and expertise in various technologies, Pastor Arellano was responsible for regular radio broadcasts for the Christian community, assisted in the successful recordings of Spanish Christian music that inspired international Christian ministries and engineered sound systems for a number of conventions held throughout California and served on the Planning Committees for such.

Pastor Ruben is best remembered within the community for starting the tradition in South Hayward with the annual "Little Mexico" festival that brought together the Hispanic and Latino Communities to share in their rich cultures.

Pastor Ruben's greatest love was working with people of all races and ages, serving and counseling the needy, and visiting and praying for the sick. He worked diligently performing with integrity in whatever capacity was delegated to him by the Apostolic Assembly.

As he passes the torch as Pastor of the Hayward Apostolic Assembly, we acknowledge his lifelong dedication, earnestness, and integrity that has impacted so many lives across many borders and his legacy is a most admirable one.

Eulogy from Memorial Service Program, March 7, 2006 Interment was held at Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward, CA on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 Sections from the Daily Review Obituary, March 7, 2006 included in the In Loving Memory and Honor

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