Angel Naves passed away June 9, 2013, and the Naves family lost its patriarch. He was born on October 6, 1927, the youngest boy of 12 total children. His parents came to America from Asturias, Spain, to make a better life and provide opportunity for their children to come. Angel was born in Cherryvale, Kansas, and moved to Fairmont City, Illinois, when he about 4 or 5 years old. It was here that his father found work during the depression at the smelters. All the boys worked on farms in their youth, and everyone of his five brothers joined the service during the war, but it was his father’s dream that Angel be the first boy in the family to graduate from high school. However, Angel left school on his own in the ninth grade to work and help support the family.
When his father found out, he was broken hearted, but since Angel had determined to become a man early and provide for the family, his father asked him to work alongside him as his apprentice in the smelters. Angel took more pride in this job than in any other he ever had; he could never talk about working next to his dad without shedding tears. Ultimately though, he felt compelled to join his brothers in our country’s effort, and he eventually convinced his father to allow him to join the Navy just before he was of age to do so himself. Luckily, he joined toward the end of the war and safely finished his obligation. While in the service, the Naves boys were exposed to and felt a need to come west. Within a few years, almost the whole family had moved to California. It was there, in Pittsburg, California, Angel worked for twelve years at the mill for U.S. Steel. Eventually though, he wanted to move to the Sierras, and in 1958, he took a job in security at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Over the next twenty years, Angel quickly rose in the industry, eventually becoming an executive for Del Webb corporation properties such as The Mint, The Sahara Vegas, and The Sahara Lake Tahoe; he was also a manager and partial owner of Circus Circus. He had a unique acumen for casino operations and a keen eye for talent. He consistently assembled teams of top operators such as Paul Morazzo, Mike Ensign, Don Herbert, Tony Alamo, Pat France, Joseph Bienz, and Lenny Marmondo wherever he went. These men all went on to successful careers as top hotel, food and beverage, and gaming executives; Nevada has been greatly enriched by all their contributions. Angel was always eager to share success, give credit to others, and promote the excellence of the staff. He was known as fair and generous, but above all, he was known for his honesty and integrity.
His excellence in gaming allowed him to retire at a young age and spend the rest of his life with his family living in Tahoe, then Carson, and ultimately Reno.
He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Anthony
Naves; his mother, Josephine Garcia Naves; his sisters, Josephine Naves Ortiz, Esperanza (Hope) Naves Wyrostek, and Julia Naves; his brothers, Joseph (Jiggs) Naves, Manuel Naves, Julio (Dude) Naves, Aquilino (Kelo) Naves, Frank Naves, and Jesus Naves; his first wife, Maria; and too many wonderful nephews, nieces, and cousins to list.
He is survived by his wife of fifty years, Judy; daughters,
Linda and Judi; son, Angel; his two sisters, Mary and Mercedes; four granddaughters, Sherri, Lidia, Sage, and Saylor; two grandsons, Ryan and Adam; three great-grandsons, Garrett, Jake, and Andrew; a great-granddaughter, Sophia; two wonderful sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law; two wonderful granddaughters-in-law and a grandson-in-law; and too many wonderful nephews, nieces, and cousins to list.
His parents left the “old country” and embraced America to provide a better future for their family: the “American Dream.” Angel lived it! His whole family are the recipients of his and his parents efforts. He was one of a kind. He was a person of character. And his like shall not pass this way again. He will be missed beyond words.
Services will be held Saturday, June 22, 1pm. If you would like to attend, please contact Angel (the son) at 775-742-5223. In lieu of flowers, if you feel the need to give, please send any offering to “The River Christian Church” located at 10475 West 4th Street, Reno, NV 89523. The church will find a needy cause for your benevolence. Thank you.