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Sad news from Los Compadres

Downtown Hayward lost a legend this week.

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Ignacio Ramirez, 85, founder of Los Compadres restaurant, died on Wednesday. Earlier this year, he had celebrated the 40th anniversary of the downtown Mexican eatery he and his wife founded in 1966.

Ramirez, who grew up on a ranch in the Mexican state of Michoacan, came to the U.S. through the bracero program and settled in the Hayward area in the 1950s. See him here at age 20:

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He worked at the Hunt’s Cannery and sold burritos and tamales to his co-workers on the side before investing in a downtown business.

“He was very, very determined, hard-working, a self-motivated man,” said granddaughter Elisa Marquez. “With a third-grade education he was able to accomplish a lot.”

The close-knit Ramirez family still runs the restaurant, and they were mourning the family patriarch this week. Ramirez retired when he was 65, but Marquez said he kept coming to the restaurant every week, “telling us what we were doing right and wrong,” until a few months ago.