Jorge Humberto Alcalá Ojeda, of Annapolis MD, was a man who loved the world and everyone in it. He was born in Veracruz, Mexico, but seemed at home everywhere. He particularly loved the country where he was born, and the United States, where he lived most of his life.
He was the son of Carlos Alcalá Cerezo, originally of Mexico City, and Ernestina Ojeda Abelenda who, as a girl, was in Veracruz when the Americans occupied the city early in the 20th Century. He had no brothers or sisters, but a large and close-knit extended family, primarily in Mexico.
Jorge’s maternal grandfather was a doctor, and Jorge started medical school to follow in his footsteps. However, in the 1950s, he was a translator for an American Friends Service Committee group where he met his first wife, Ruth Solmitz. He married her and moved to the United States. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany.
He had a number of professions over the years, including computer programmer, mail carrier and – for most of his last four decades – as a medical and court interpreter. He worked as an interpreter for more than 35 years, into his 80s, until he was no longer able to stand long enough for the job. He spoke many languages and was charming in all of them.
He had an arch sense of humor and relished dressing up, socializing and traveling around the world with his wife Leah. He also was a great dancer and loved to get up and move.
He married Leah Raye Ross in 1974 and began living in suburban Maryland, though he frequently traveled back to Mexico. His mother, uncle, aunt and cousins lived in close proximity in Mexico City until the death of Ernestina Alcalá in the 1990s. Much of the family then moved to Cancun, where Jorge continued to visit until his health and the COVID pandemic ended his trips.
He was active in helping immigrants in his community – helping with translation, but also with assistance navigating bureaucratic needs. He enjoyed reading and learning. He was Catholic and liked attending Spanish mass in his later life. He was a Dodgers baseball fan from his years in Los Angeles, and in his 40s liked to play softball. He was bright and knowledgeable.
Less than a week before his death, he celebrated his 92nd birthday at the home of his son, Antonio. Leah and his other three sons - Adrian, Carlos and Ernesto – were all present, either in person or by Zoom. Also in attendance were more than a dozen grandchildren, daughters-in-law, his great grandson and others.
In addition to the relatives who participated in his birthday, he is survived by countless cousins, nieces and nephews. He requested to be buried in Mexico City with his parents.
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