Francisco Bravo, a son of migrant farm workers who eventually came to own thousands of acres of his own farmland, has died in a Montebello hospital, it was learned this week.
His daughter, Francine Pumphrey, said her father--a seminal force in the financial development and self-determination of Latino East Los Angeles--died May 3. He had turned 80 the previous day and lived in Whittier.
Bravo, a former Los Angeles police commissioner and member of the state Agriculture Board, was, sequentially, a pharmacist, surgeon, clinic founder, banker and then rancher and landowner.
Born to poverty in Ventura County, he worked his way through the USC School of Pharmacy and then as a pharmacist through Stanford University School of Medicine.
He built the Bravo Clinic on Soto Street and Whittier Boulevard, was founding president in 1964 of the Pan-American National Bank on East 1st Street and the property owner who sold the Riverside County site of what was to become Sun City to Del Webb. Reflecting the melting pot that East Los Angeles was in the early 1960s, the bank’s board of directors was an ethnic and racial mix.
Over the years Bravo purchased or built mobile home parks in Riverside, cattle ranches and farms in that county and 2,000 acres of hay and grain farmland in Calexico.
His acreage paralleling California 395 in Perris was sold in the early 1960s to Webb for $3 million.
Throughout this period he also continued to practice medicine.
In 1964 he was elected president of the Police Commission, on which he had served since 1961, and in 1967 was appointed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to the Board of Agriculture. That did not keep the World War II veteran four years later from criticizing both Reagan and former Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown for not appointing more Mexican-Americans to top state jobs.
A widower, he is survived by his daughter, sons Francisco Jr. and Ricardo, a brother and two grandchildren.