The Arranaga’s

The below photo was kindly shared with us by Southwest Abstract and the Lewis families.

Someone stated that the Arranaga’s stores were located down on Main Street and that also one of the Arranaga’s owned Mr. 15Ë that was on Ave. F and 10th Street.

We would like to add more of a story line to this photo and ask for Alumni input. Please use the ‘Website Contact’ button at the top of the page.

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Danny Hernandez, Class of 1965
I went to school with Manuel and there are some things missing from some of the other stories. 

Ina Arranaga was the oldest of the Manuel Arranaga Sr family.  She (I believe) graduated in 1966.  The family also used to own the Dairy Queen on Main St about two blocks from their grocery store.  It used to be a local hang out for a lot of the students from both Del Rio and San Felipe. There used a jam session almost every Friday night from one of the local rock bands and there was always a football game going on the open field next to it.  If anyone else remembers those great nights, please add addition info.

Lindy (Lissner) Downs, Class of 1969

When I read the request to submit a memory about the Arranaga Family, I was immediately reminded of something that  dear Mr. Arranaga had done for me...way back in the 1970's.

As most reading this will remember, Mr. Arranaga owned and operated the locally popular hamburger stand called "Mr. 15 Center." (So named because some of Mr. Arranaga's hamburgers only cost 15 cents!) Anyway, DRHS students loved the very kindly "Mr. A." and seemingly, he also adored all of us,which easily resulted in Mr. A's place... becoming THE place to hangout! 

However, it wasn't until after I had graduated from Del Rio High  (Class of 1969!) that I personally learned exactly how MUCH Mr. A really cared for all of "his kids".

Unfortunately, my second year in college I contracted an exceptionally bad case of hepatitis after ingesting some tainted water. Naturally, I came home to be with my parents thereby ultimately ending up in the old Val Verde hospital. And while I was in the Hospital, if anyone wanted to visit me they had to first suit up in a HAZMAT-type outfit, then surgically scrub their hands in a basin which had been set up outside my room. Next they were ask to put on a face mask & shower cap... and IF somehow they were still feeling brave enough to enter my room... then we could visit together. (These procedures were particularly strict because another gentleman right down the hall from me had actually died from hepatitis the very day I was admitted.)

Understandably, I had very few visitors.

Plus, as is typical with hepatitis, I had totally lost my appetite which was dangerous because... back then... I couldn't afford to lose much weight. (THIS is definitely NOT the situation... 40 years later!)  Anyway, Dr. Cartall & my parents were both extremely focused on trying to get me to eat...  absolutely anything!

So the afternoon that I weakly suggested to my Dad that maybe some guacamole might taste good, my Father QUICKLY jumped into his old truck and rushed over to the nearby Mr. A's. to buy some for me!

However, dear Mr. Arranaga must have immediately appreciated the frantic look of worry on my Father's face, because he told Dad to get back to the hospital, as he also assured Dad he'd  bring me some guacamole just soon as he had prepared it.

And BRING me "some" guacamole Mr. Arranaga DID!!!!  I shall never forget the moment I weakly looked up and saw Mr. A. standing there my hospital room, fully decked out in that awful precautionary gown & mask... but also carrying his HUGE bowl of guacamole & chips! It was literally large enough "to feed an entire army"!!! Mr. A's eyes were shining so brightly over his face mask as he gingerly laid out his little surprise picnic for me, complete with a little bouquet of freshly picked wildflowers!

I could never possibly forget how kind & caring Mr. Arranaga was to me that day!

Of course, as sick as I was, I was barely able to swallow just a few bites of his delicious MOUNTAIN of guacamole... Thus, I felt terrible about the fact that because hepatitis is so contagious, his entire bowl had to be thrown away. But sweet Mr. A just smiled and quietly leaned over and kissed the top of my head as he whispered in Spanish: "May God be with you, little one".

So, there's my memory, which I greatly appreciate being allowed to share about the dear little man that we kids all called: "Mr. A". And may I please add... wherever Mr. Arranaga is today, my prayer is: May God be with YOU too Mr. A.! 

Dan Cobb, class of '54

Can you take some more about the Arranagas? My family was like those many others who grew up in Del Rio at the time: the Arranagas loomed large in daily life. We were regular customers of the store, and a frequent occurence in my growing-up years was a Sunday morning trip to Arranaga & Sons on the northeast corner of the South Main-Pafford Street intersection. We often took Sunday jaunts into Mexico for fishing, swimming, etc., on the San Diego River on the ranches of my parents' friends, the Fernando Diego spread at the river's headwaters and farther downstream on Humberto Garza's place, where my father eventually was allowed to build a little thatched-roof house out of stone quarried on the Garza ranch. We always picked up the necessary food as we left on Sunday morning, and Arranagas was the place to get provisions -- not only because it was only two and a half blocks from our house on Strickland Street, but because Arranaga & Sons at the time was the only full-service grocery store in town hat was open on Sunday. John Nyfeler's memories of the store and the family pretty much correspond with mine, since he and I are contemporaries (remember that physics class with Uncle Og, Jack?). When I was in high school and on the staff of the Kat Klaw, the weekly DRHS student-edited newspaper under Coach Malcolm Walker's supervision, the print shop we used was located immediately across Pafford from Arranagas -- very handy for snacking.
It's true that the Arranaga family was an important and positive influence in community life. A grand family, indeed. One son, Manuel Jr., served on the city council. As it happened, I was just beginning my newspaper career in 1964 when editor Dan Bus (acting on a suggestion by Ima Jo Fleetwood) hired me for a vacant reporter position (the only reporter position, in fact) and I began covering local government. Manuel was part of my beat, so I saw him at work. He brought the Arranaga work ethic to that unpaid post and gave freely of his time to his community. (I would add that he also was a lot of fun to be around -- a warm, friendly and witty guy.) Luis was quieter than the ebullient Manuel Jr., but he was equally commited to family and community. It was Luis who took the reins when the new store was built across Main Street in the 1960s. Good-hearted Carlos' obvious popularity with young people of a later generation of DRHS students comes as no suprise.

About that photo from Bill Lewis' title company archives: I know the names of almost everyone in it, so I'll pass them on. From left: First gentleman I don't know, although his face seems very familiar to me. He may have worked for the Arranagas, but my guess is that he was associated with the Budweiser folks. Moving on, we have Manuel Jr., Carlos, store founders Mr. and Mrs. Arranaga holding two of their grandchildren, and Luis. As for the young woman at the right of the photo, I'm not certain, but I believe her to be Irma Arranaga, the daughter of the family. My guess is that the photo was taken sometime in the late 1940s.

Arthur Glaze, Class of 1956

I have fond memories of going shopping with my parents to Arrañaga & Sons Grocery Store on South Main Street in the late 40’s.

My mother would drive to the Southern Pacific yards in the afternoons and pick up my father when he got off work as an engineer on a steam locomotive. Some days we would stop at Arrañaga’s and she would shop while my dad and Mr. Arrañaga would visit. Often times I would watch the two gentlemen talk. Mr. Arrañaga was affable and the two men enjoyed chatting with one another. However, one thing always seemed to bother my father.

My father had no experience with the Hispanic culture whatsoever and did not understand nor appreciate the fact that Mr. Arrañaga insisted in standing so close to him when they talked…oftentimes, placing a hand on my father’s shoulder. Physical closeness is very comfortable for a Hispanic and uncomfortable for most Anglos.

At the dinner table in the evenings, after shopping at Arrañanga & Sons, my dear father would always ask “Why does Mr. Arrañaga have to get so close to talk to me? He always does that.” (This is cross-cultural misinformation at its best. There is a built-in tendency for all groups to interpret their own nonverbal communicative patterns as though they were universal.) Well, with Mr. Arrañaga’s rotund profile, his hand on my father’s shoulder, my father retreating with several steps back and Mr. Arrañanga advancing several steps forward, I truly believe this was the beginning format for “Dancing With the Stars”. No proof…just a hunch. I just wonder what Bruno’s exclamation would be, had he witnessed this? (For those non Dancing With the Stars fans, Bruno is a very flamboyant, extroverted judge.)

 John Nyfeler, Class of 1953

After the Second World War my father was discharged from the US Navy and he returned to Del Rio as an Inspector in the Immigration and Naturalization Service.    Reestablishing civilian life, our family (Mom and Dad, George, Ruth, Jim and me) lived briefly at 106 East Ney Street, across from the Garoni family compound, just down Main Street from the Arranaga store.  That was where we shopped for all sorts of family needs, not just groceries.   As an third grader in Central Elementary School I remember the wonder of the giant coffee mill.  It was a revelation to me that coffee came in beans and not that grainy powder in the Folgers can.  Arranaga's was where I was introduced to the new taste of Papayas and Guava.  Arranaga's was a treasure of aromas from the produce, the dried foods and the butcher shop.  The family members working there were always pleasant to everyone including me.  As an indicator of our family's tight budget, I remember that Arranaga's was the place I could go by myself to use their pencil sharpener so my Mom could do the crossword puzzle in the Herald.

...what is it that makes our memory select what it does?  ...and not all those other things that surely also happened.

Arranaga's helped to make Del Rio what it was then and what is now.

Linda Beasley  (Jones) Class of 1959

If you lived on the south end of town in the fifties, you were certainly familiar with Arranaga's Grocery store on  South Main.  My mom shopped for our groceries there.   I  got my drivers license when I was 14 and Mother let me go to the store just about every evening to get milk, bread, or something.  I remember South Main was a two-way street and all parking was parallel --so I got to practice my parking.  There was a lot of parallel parking back in those days.   That store had a special smell that I can still conjure up.  You  were greeted by name by at least one  family member with a smile on their face.  They was always a family member there.  If they did not have what you wanted, they would have it the next time you were in.

 I especially have fond memories of Mr. Arranaga and Luis.   They asked  to sponsor me in the Miss Del Rio pageant when I was fifteen.  It was the year Phyliss Foster (Taylor)  won.  I had the most beautiful swim suit in the competition.  It was white with colored rhinestones all over.  It cost $50.00 and in 1956 that was a lot of money, but that is the one they chose, I had taken them three suits to choose from  and that is the one they picked (I was tickled, because it was the one I really wanted).

Dan Decker, Class of 1964

My Mom used to work for the Arranaga’s. My Mom worked in the Dairy Queen (King) at 8th and Ave F.
The Arranaga’s also owned several rental houses that were formerly buildings at either Fort Clark or Laughlin.  We rented one on Gibbs street down near the baseball park when we returned to Del Rio in 1957.

Randy Pohler, Class of 1969

Don’t know if this will be of any help but when we moved to Del Rio in 1963 I believe there was an Arranaga’s Grocery Store at the corner of Garfield and South Main Street. The spot is now a Compass Bank Parking Lot located right behind the Drive-In Bank. The store fronted South Main Street great memory old wood floors and the aroma of the “meat market” permeated the whole store.
Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Arranaga built Mr. 15Center at the corner of Avenue F (now Veterans Blvd.) and 10th Street in like 1965 or 1966 it was THE hang out spot for all of us Del Rio teenagers…many plots were hatched, girls watched, hearts broken and fun was had by all. There was an old motel just across the street on 10th Street…Magnolia Bushes lined the street (The Bank and Trust now occupies that property). Mr. and Mrs. Arranaga were great with us crazy kids…so patient and understanding…great, great people!!!!

Guillermina Bosquez Stover, Class of 1971

Luis Arranaga (and his wife Dolores Martinez) were the owners of the Arranaga grocery store on 913 South Main Street, where United Medical Center is presently located.  The building in the photograph on the Del Rio Alumni website looks to be where Laing's Furniture is presently located, 904 S. Main.  That business is owned by Marina (Arranaga) and husband Buddy Laing, Jr.  I believe that building was owned by the Arranaga family, the parents of Luis Arranaga.

Mr. A's (previously Mr. 15 Burger and Mr. 19 Burger) on 10th and Avenue F was owned by Luis Arranaga's brother.  I don't recall his name.

During my high school years I became a close friend of Luis & Dolores Arranaga's daughter, Cristina (aka Cristy).  I was aware that in a corner of the Arranaga grocery store (913 South Main) there was a darkroom for developing photographs.  When we were in high school, Cristy took photography classes and developed a lot of her photographs in that darkroom.

Luis and Dolores Arranaga had 7 children and if remember correctly, here are their names:  Dolores, Marina, Neni (I don't remember her real name), Cristina, Norma, Roberto, and Ricardo.

Lawrence Seeger, Class of 1945

I remember the Arranaga store on South Main.  It was a couple of blocks south of our bakery (Seeger's Bakery) at 821 South Main.  Since the store was so close to the bakery, we used to trade there a lot.  It was a family operation.  Mr. and Mrs. Arranaga were in charge, of course, but I remember the children taking an active part in the business.  There were Manuel, Jr., Luis, Irma and a younger brother whose name I don't recall.  Later, Manuel, Jr. and Luis became the active managers and Irma played an important role, too.  They were a hard working family and deserved the success that they achieved.

Arnoldo Gutierrez, Class of 1968

The Arranaga's stores.  "Mr. A's" was located at 10th and Ave F.  It was a hamburger place owned by Carlos Arranaga son of Manuel Arranaga Sr.  Mr. Manuel Arranaga Sr. sons were Carlos and Manuel Jr. and Luis as I remember.  The grocery store was located on main about 2 blocks past the Texas Theater on the left hand side of the store.  My mother told me a story a few months ago, that in the early 50's we used to get our groceries there and we would pay when my father would get paid, twice a month at Laughlin AFB.  It is my understanding that many families did the same thing.  Later, probably 1963-64 Luis opened Arranaga's across the street from the old store.  I am sure that one of the Arranaga's will see this and correct me if I am wrong.  Manuel Arranaga Jr. moved his family to the San Jose Ca. and has since passed away.  His children and wife and still there.  Some of Luis' children are still in Del Rio.  Marina can be found at Laing's Furniture store.