Amherst Magazine

Alvaro Hernandez-Martin
Alvaro Hernandez-Martin

We celebrate the life of Alvaro Hernandez- Martin, who was born in Toledo, Spain, February 19, 1932, and died late in October this year in Madrid. He leaves his wife Paquita, whom he married in August, 1961, and two children: Diana and Alvaro. Diana is pursuing a Master's at Boston Univ. ; Alvaro completing his studies in Spain. Paquita found it painful to talk on the phone, but I believe Alvaro was another victim of the cigarette.

Early on, Alvaro lost his father to the Spanish Civil War. He was a cheerful survivor. I first met him on a recruiting mission for the College, and remember his smile as he stood for his picture in front of the FENIX at the entrance to the Gran Via.

He was a most helpful assistant in our department as we tried to open more windows on the Spanish-speaking world. If we were successful, Alvaro deserves much of the credit. He came to Amherst in the fall of 1955, taught/spoke Spanish, worked in Valentine, had a Spanish program on WAMF (with John Wilber), worked summers, studied hard, and graduated with the class of 1957.

Probably very few people know how much Alvaro did for the College AND the town of Amherst . He and Paquita were certainly our live wire connection with Madrid , a reference for Amherst people as individuals or as groups in Spain . As a good Amherst man he was always ready to help, to find a book we needed, or, with Paquita, ready to counsel and comfort some student like Alyssa Harvey to make his/her Spanish experience a success.

Alvaro was also a poet, a man fascinated with words, imaginative. From a letter he wrote William G. Shepherd on February 15, 1992 (his 35th reunion year): "...I became a 'free lance' to do translations into Spanish, 'voice recordings' and 'dubbings' for industrial videos, documentaries, and TV movies... for ex- ample, TV series such as 'Santa Barbara,' 'Hunter,' 'McGyver,' 'In The Heat of the Night,' 'Hawaii 5-0,' 'Miami Vice,' etc. ... It is a lot of fun..." He also read his own works on TV: with that deep resonant Castillian clarity of voice he had. We both had a lot of fun discussing the Spanish equivalent of e.g. "Here in this place you brace yourself for a blackjack in the neck and they give you a frozen yogurt in the face."  We miss Alvaro very much.

-Ernest A. Johnson, Jr. '39

 

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