Resides: Marshalltown


Born in Cuba. I came to the United States as a youth in the early 1960s as part of Catholic Charities’ “Operation Pedro Pan,” program. After landing in Miami, I was later taken to Marshalltown and lived with my “Marshalltown” parents — Catherine and Leon Hockett. Later, I lived in New York, N.Y. for many years. I retired to Marshalltown with love and appreciation.


Family: I have a number of relations living outside of Iowa. I have many special friends residing locally, but too many to name for fear of forgetting someone.

Pets: Tyler, Chazz, Ruse, Doc, Ditzy, Bentley, Ruby and Cisco.

Hobbies and interests: I am an avid reader, with strong interest in politics, history and financial forecasting. I have a great collection of memorabilia as a former U.S. Ambassador for Latin American Affairs. Appointed by former President Jimmy Carter.


Occupation: Retired due to health issues. I have undergone major surgeries involving heart, lung and kidneys. However, God has always pulled me through. I guess he still has plans for me. I have had a full life of living experiences only the American dream can provide. I never thought, in coming from Cuba and not speaking the (English) language, which I learned in Marshalltown, it would lead me to politics and different boards, such as American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and many others. Volunteering and giving back is my vocation.


Books: Biographies and History.

Movies: I love concert DVD’s. However, favorites are too many to name.

Foods: Italian. I enjoy eating at local restaurants El Portal, Mama DiGrado’s, Perkins, Sub City and Tremont Grille.


Most influential people: Difficult to answer, but definitely President Carter would top list. No one along the way contributed more to my formation in the U.S. Also, would include the Hocketts

Local involvement: Board member of Marshalltown Business & Education Alliance and one of original Crime Stoppers board members. Served as co-chair of 2015 United Way Campaign. Also humbled to have been recipient of 2014 People’s Choice Award, presented by former Gov. Terry Branstad. The public was invited to help select the winner, by voting for the candidate they felt most deserved extra recognition for contributions as a volunteer.

Advice on life: Rely on on your faith, live the present, learn from your past, and let God guide your future. Always remember where you came from, and all the people you have touched along life’s journey.


15 Minutes is a Saturday feature about Central Iowans. The question and answer format lends itself be completed or read in 15 minutes or less. To submit a name for consideration, or to participate, contact Times-Republican Staff and Features Reporter Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com.