Remembering Rachel Cordova

Rachel Verlinda Cordova, 92, passed away peacefully on March 27, 2024, at her home in Tustin, California. Rachel dedicated herself to her family and Cordova Bolt.  She maintained an unwavering commitment to others, welcoming all with an open door and a sympathetic ear. Her boundless warmth left a lasting impression.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Moses, in 2014, and survived by her three children:  Karen, Mark, and Matthew; her six grandchildren: Elizabeth, Mark-Thomas, Crystal, Emily, Matthew Moses, and Jacob; and her three great-grandchildren: Jacqueline, Heather, and Mila.

The funeral Mass to honor Rachel’s life will be held at St. Cecilia Church (1301 Sycamore Ave, Tustin, CA 92780) on a date to be announced. Prior to the service, a visitation will be held at Saddleback Chapel (220 East Main Street, Tustin, CA 92780), also on a date yet to be determined.

Rachel was born Raquel Verlinda Martínez on April 17, 1931, in an adobe home near the banks of the Huerfano River and famous Trappers’ Trail in Southern Colorado. Indeed, Rachel’s parents were proud Hispano ranchers, and her maternal and paternal grandparents were Colorado pioneers, born within twenty years of the same land becoming part of the United States. Her ancestral lines include Native Americans and members of the first European settlement in the Southwestern United States, near the crossing of the Río Chama and Río Grande rivers in New Mexico in 1598, pre-dating the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Rachel remembered her first job as herding sheep on the prairie with her sister, Della. However, she said she paid more attention to the probable and regular appearance of rattlesnakes, which her father taught her to masterfully kill, each with a single bullet into the encroaching rattler’s mouth, open and ready to strike. Yes, Rachel had grit and learned to work hard from a very young age.

This same Rachel became a successful businesswoman in the fastener industry. She and her husband were co-owners of Cordova Bolt, Inc., in Southern California.

Rachel met her future husband, Moses Cordova, in school. Both graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Walsenburg, Colorado. Rachel was valedictorian of her class. They soon were engaged before Moses enlisted in the Navy and became a petty officer and radio man on the U.S.S. Wantuck during the Korean War. Meanwhile, Rachel attended Loretto Heights College in Denver, for a brief time, and then business school in Colorado Springs. She then practiced accounting skills, while working for an accountant in her hometown of Walsenburg.

Rachel and Moses married, during a month’s leave from wartime Naval duties, in January 1951. Their daughter, Karen, was born in November of the same year. When Moses was later stationed in the United States, Rachel and Karen moved from Colorado to live with him in Naval Quonset huts, first in Vallejo, CA, and later in San Diego. By 1954, the young family lived in a duplex in City Terrace in East Los Angeles.  While Rachel kept a tidy home and made homecooked meals, Moses rose from a Kardex card clerk to sales manager at Triangle Steel and Supply in Vernon.

In 1954, the Cordovas purchased their first home and moved to the new city of Buena Park, where their sons, Mark and Matthew, were born in 1956 and 1962.  Rachel was actively involved in their children’s schooling and religious education, as well as their extracurricular activities. However, in the mid-1960s, Moses was offered the opportunity to be co-owner of a new fastener company, Circle Bolt, Inc., in Santa Fe Springs. He said, “I thought I died and went to heaven.” Rachel changed careers from being a housewife to working for her husband, managing the clerical staff and the accounting department. And Circle Bolt was profitable within the first month of doing business.

In 1975, Moses and Rachel founded Cordova Bolt, Inc. Cordova Bolt was first located in Santa Fe Springs and, later, moved to a larger location in Buena Park. Cordova Bolt became one of the premier fastener companies in the United States and, for many years, was on the list of the top 500 Hispanic companies in the U.S.

Moses and Rachel also started Centennial Bolt in Denver, CO, and were originally co-owners with a former Cordova Bolt employee and their son, Mark.

Moses and Rachel were involved with the National Fastener Distributors Association (NFDA), Western Association of Fastener Distributors (WAFD), Pacific-West Fastener Association (Pac-West), and the Los Angeles Fastener Association (LAFA). They valued the many friendships they made within the industry and over many decades. Rachel was also on the national board of directors of LAMA (Latin American Manufacturers’ Association, later Latin American Management Association) in Washington, D.C.

Moses and Rachel loved and supported their church and were active participants in all parishes where they lived in Buena Park, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, and Tustin.  When she died, Rachel was a member of St. Cecilia Church in Tustin. They loved to travel and visited many countries, too numerous to mention. Local trips were often to Las Vegas.