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Biography of Jose Eusebio "Chembo" Cruz Roman
By Zoraida Cruz Garcia and Daniel Joel Cruz Garcia
Jose Eusebio Cruz Roman, our Iron Man, also known as Chembo, Chembo Fuego, Tio Chembo, Welito, Papi y Hermano Chembo, was born on May, 5th 1921, (AKA February 5th, 1921), in Camuy, Puerto Rico and raised in Cocos Quebradillas, Puerto Rico.
He was born to Otilia Roman De Cruz and Gregorio Cruz Vargas who were Puerto Rican Natives. Eusebio was the 5th oldest of 7 brothers and the only surviving sibling. His brothers were Santos Cruz Roman (1907) Felipe Cruz Roman (1909), Ramon Cruz Roman (1915), Justo Cruz Roman (1918), Juan Cruz Roman (1924), and Amparo Cruz Roman (1927).
He was survived by his late wife Cecilia Cruz Vargas Rosario (September 24, 1926/AKA March 14th, 1924-2000). They were married on April 4th, 1942 in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico.
Eusebio and Cecilia in turn had 10 children of their own. The children are as follows, late Angel Luis Cruz (1944-2023), the late Aurelio Cruz (1945-1961), Maria Teresa Mendez Cruz (1947), the late Carlos Cruz (1951-1977), Rene Cruz (1955 ), Edwin Cruz (1956), Fredo Cruz (1959) Mirian Fernandez Cruz (1961), Efrain Cruz (1962) and Zoraida Garcia Cruz (1964).
In addition to the 10 children, Eusebio and Cecilia also had 35 grandchildren, 64 Great grandchildren and 6 Great Great grandchildren and the legacy continues to flourish.
Eusebio's father Gregorio owned a business in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico where he and his brothers delivered bread throughout the town at a young age. In addition to his family's entrepreneurship and family owned business, Eusebio also worked in the Sugar Canes of Puerto Rico. In 1952, Eusebio journeyed to the United States, specifically, New Jersey with a group of skilled workers. In New jersey Eusebio worked to make living for his family back home. After some time in New Jersey, Eusebio relocated to Chicago, Illinois to connect with his cousin Raphael Cruz who lived on Stoney Island. Upon arriving to Stoney Island, Eusebio assisted his cousin with many domestic jobs so that his cousin could provide for them. Eusebio then began working and once he was able to, he sent for his Wife Cecilia and 2 of his small children, Angel Luis and Maria Teresa.
Once they arrived to Chicago, Illinois, Eusebio continued working so that he can send for his other children, Aurelio and Carlos who had stayed behind in Puerto Rico. Eusebio and Cecilia suffered great losses in 1961 with the death of their son Aurelio Cruz and then in 1977 with the death of another son, Carlos Cruz. Both sons drowned on Father's Day over a decade apart. This was a loss that Eusebio and Cecilia and the Cruz family never recovered from but continued to keep their faith and cherished each day as if were their last.
In 1974 after years of working in the states and living the American dream, Eusebio was able to purchase his first home on 5353 South Wolcott in Chicago, Illinois. It was in this home that he had and raised 6 more children. Over time Eusebio had worked for numerous companies such as Jones Town, National Video, Cracker Jacks, Lee Brown and then finally Nabisco where he eventually retired.
In 1980 Eusebio gave his life to the Lord and converted from Catholicism to Christianity. Eusebio spent his days, worshipping, ministering and evangelizing thereafter. In addition he also raised numerous of his grandchildren. Many of his family lived with him at some point as well with their children. It was in these days where he had the opportunity to take them to school and he also was an active member of the PTA.
In 1992 Eusebio and his wife Cecilia celebrated their 50th anniversary with all of their children and grandchildren as their bridal party. This was one of the happiest days of his life as he renewed his vows to the love of his life. There were over 150 attendees to this event and it was one filled with celebration and completion.
On September 25th, 2005 Eusebio was ordained as a deacon through Lost and Found Christian Center.
Eusebio was loved by anyone he met. He loved walking through the neighborhood running errands for his wife. Eusebio was a man who would give the last dollar in his pocket and always had the same fervent heart of Gold til his departure. Eusebio loved to listen to music on his radio with his headphones, he loved riding his bike and going on long walks. He was a Godly man of integrity, loyalty, dedication, determination and longevity.
Eusebio the Centenarian lived through 18 presidents.. He also lived through the end of the Russian Civil War, The Irish War of Independence, The Irish Civil War, World War II, The Korean War, The Kenya Emergency, the Suez Crisis, The Malayan Emergency, the Aden Emergency, The Troubles, The Falklands War, the Gulf War, The Bosnian War, The Kosovo War, The Global War on Terrorism, The War in Afghanistan, and The Iraq War and Insurgency and now the Covid-19 Pandemic. Eusebio will always be one of the World Wonders as he pushes on with strength, laughter and love.
As of his transition to be with the Lord, Eusebio lived with his daughter and caretaker, Mirian Fernandez Cruz. He would say that he did not feel a day over twenty-five and he always carried a tune that would fill anyone's heart with love. Having lived 102 years on this earth, the Cruz bloodline is a Legacy, which will be carried on for hundreds of years to come.
As Welito would say, “You Got It Take It Way”!
In Honor of our Beloved Father, In Lieu of Flowers, Monetary Contributions / Donations are greatly appreciated!
Please feel free to Send your Bereavement Gifts:
Via Zelle to “Mirian Fernandez” at
(773) 415-7142 or
6055 S. Menard Avenue
Chicago, IL 60638