Ochoa volunteered his video recording and editing talents to a smorgasbord of community events such as the Brentwood CornFest, Antioch Rivertown Jamboree and the Pittsburg Seafood Festival. His camera also captured the activities of several multicultural groups throughout the years, namely the Hispanic community.
East County recently mourned the loss of one of its most caring residents, as Ochoa passed away on March 10 due to a brain aneurism. He was 73.
“He had a smile for everybody and he had a warmth for everybody,” said Charlie’s wife, Carmen Ochoa. “He was someone you just knew you were going to make a friend. He cared for everybody, too.”
Charlie, who was born in Antioch on June 4, 1938, was always known for being the guy behind the camera. His lifelong love of photography made the transition to video, which led Charlie and Carmen to achieve great things. The husband and wife team started a popular bilingual public access TV show, “Calendario,” to serve Contra Costa County’s Hispanic population. Soon that show split into one primarily English-language show and one Spanish show.
Through those shows, the Ochoas started the nonprofit Give Always to Others and Co., which facilitates events at local schools, theaters and libraries for a multitude of local cultures. Charlie was always behind the camera, filming every moment. Charlie also took video from older formats and transferred them to DVDs, so memories could stand the test of time.
“He believed in keeping history,” said Antioch City Councilwoman Mary Rocha, a close friend of Charlie. “He wanted people to have their own recording of their history and life. He did it on his own because he wanted to help people.”
Charlie was known for his heart. Though he wasn’t always the loudest talker, he was always willing to listen and help all in need. Later in life, he cherished spending time with his grandson, Carlito. They could be seen swimming, taking walks in parks and recycling cans and bottles to increase a savings account for Carlito’s education.
While the Liberty High School graduate loved spending time in East County, he found time to get away from it all in South Lake Tahoe, where his home there served as a sanctuary of peace.
Charlie pursued a variety of passions. In addition to serving as president of the Fiberboard Club of Antioch – a group of former Fiberboard employees dating back to the 1930s – he was an avid scuba diver, walker and swimmer. For years he would walk three miles a day to the Jack in the Box to meet with dear friends.
“Charlie, even though he was basically a shy person and never had a whole lot to say, still was a big impact to the community,” said cousin Gloria Martin. “He really was quite a guy.”
Charlie is survived by his wife, Carmen; son, Carlos Jr.; grandson, Carlito; parents, Juan and Frances Ochoa; siblings, Ofelia Pease, Grace Bustos and Ruben, and Gilbert and John Ochoa.