When reflecting on the life of Carlos Espino, many words come to mind: strength, compassion, humility, and generosity just to name a few. He was a man whose heart beat to love others whether it was his family, his students, or the down-trodden within his community. One of his greatest dreams was fulfilled when Carlos became a United States citizen which was only accomplished through hard work and vast amounts of selfless determination. Carlos did more during his lifetime than others can only dream of while masterfully piecing together a colorful mosaic of memories and a legacy of sacrificial love that will live on in the hearts and lives of all those he leaves behind.
Beginning in 1940, Mexico experienced a substantial economic growth that some historians call the “Mexican Miracle.” It was on May 15, 1947, that Manuel and Maria (Vazquez) Espino were celebrating the birth of their son, Carlos Vazquez, in Camacho Mazapil, Zacatecas, Mexico. Carlos was one of five boys and two girls in his family and when he reflected on his childhood later in life, he recalled that times were tough. These experiences, however, helped shape Carlos into the extraordinary man that he one day became.
Life drastically changed for Carlos when he drew close to God in 1963 at around 16 years of age. He became involved in a Spirit-filled church in Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Soon after he became a member of the church, a young lady named Josefina Carrillo caught young Carlos’s eye. She and her family were established members of the church and upon their introduction, there was an immediate attraction between Carlos and Josefina. After their relationship blossomed into true love, the couple was married on January 22, 1966, at their home church when Carlos was just a few months shy of his 19th birthday. The newlyweds were soon blessed with the birth of their first child, Carlos Jr.
One of the things that Carlos most desired was to provide his family with a better life, and he was willing to do whatever it took to achieve this. In 1968 he obtained a work visa and began working in El Paso, Texas. His first job consisted of removing and straightening nails in pieces of lumber all day. Over the next few years he continued to work hard and kept striving for a permanent visa so that he could live and work in the United States. It was also during this time that Carlos and Josefina were blessed with their son Israel and their daughter Adriana. Carlos was thrilled when the Lord rewarded him with his permanent visa in 1971. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, where Carlos accepted any work he could find, even bussing tables, so that his family could be united. It wasn’t long before he was indeed able to be reunited with his family when Josefina and their three children joined him to live in the United States. Once there, they were blessed with two more children: Gabriela and Gilbert.
Carlos was always looking for any and every opportunity to provide a better life for his family, and in 1981 he was planning to move to Seattle, Washington, because the steel mill he worked at was closing. Before moving north, the family came to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit Josefina’s sister Santos. During this visit, Carlos and Josefina realized that Santos needed some financial help. Being kind and generous people, Carlos and Josefina willingly gave the money they would need for their move to Washington to Santos instead. They never did make it to Washington but settled in Milwaukee instead.
Carlos’s initial education came from hard work – there was no formal education. He was nearly fifty when he finally pursued his education. He obtained his GED and then went on to receive an associate’s degree in dental assisting. Carlos’s education didn’t stop there though as he became certified in family systems intervention and alcoholic treatment. He worked as a dental assistant until he became a dental assistant instructor at Kaplan College in Milwaukee. Carlos was an excellent instructor and was well-liked by both his students and his colleagues.
From the time he was a teen, faith was a cornerstone in Carlos’s life. He pastored a church in Barstow, California, as well as the Apostolic Missionary Church on 16th Street in Milwaukee. Throughout the years he also taught numerous Bible studies and often opened up his home to those in need.
Carlos was an extraordinary man in so many ways. He was always looking out for others, and was actively involved in his community. Carlos was more than willing to do what he could to help others make a better life for themselves or to get back on their feet. He was never looking for a pat on the back either – he just acted out of his genuine love for others. On one occasion, however, Carlos was recognized with a Community Service Award from the police department for his help during a robbery. He was unconditionally supportive of his children and especially supportive of his grandchildren. When he was being photographed, Carlos was often seen giving his trademark thumbs-up. His family delights in knowing that when he was called home, he himself received a thumbs-up.
Carlos Espino was a special man to people far too numerous to count. Although he was a private man, he never hesitated to reach out to those in need in a variety of ways. When looking back on the life of their loved one, Carlos’s family wonders how he found the time to work, study, pastor a church, and raise a family. He was such a humble man – his children never being aware of many of his awards and accomplishments until after his death. One of Carlos’s greatest dreams came to fruition in 2004 when he became a United States citizen, however, his highest goal was to provide a good life for his family. After a lifetime of hard-work, dedication, and perseverance, Carlos did indeed provid for his family not only physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. His family tree will forever produce magnificent fruit due to the life and the legacy that Carlos Espino established.
Carlos Vazquez Espino died on September 28, 2009. Carlos’s family includes his wife, Josefina Espino; his children, Carlos C. (Cassandra) Espino, Israel C. Espino, Adriana C. Espino, Gabriela C. (Robert) Gomez, and Gilbert C. (Yolanda) Espino; his grandchildren, grandfather Elias E., Gabriel, and Isaiah A. Espino, Ricardo and Lisette Ramos, Brandon Gomez, and Samuel A., Elijah A., and Alexis L. Espino; his father, Manuel Espino; his siblings, Antonio (Yolanda) Espino, Manuel (Susie) Espino, Raquel (the late Armando) Rangel, Enrique (Barbara) Espino, Patricia (Rueben) Nava and Moises (Sherry) Espino; as well as several other relatives and friends. Carlos was preceded in death by his mother, Maria Espino. Visit with Carlos’s family and friends on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at Parkway Apostolic Church 10940 S. Nicholson Road Oak Creek, WI 53154 from 5:00 – 6:45 p.m. Funeral Service 7:00 p.m. Private interment Good Hope Cemetery. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com, where you can leave a favorite memory or photo. Arrangements provided by Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski 414-744-5156.