The Nolasco Family

Pedro Nolasco's citizenship papers from Mexico
Pedro Nolasco’s citizenship papers from Mexico

Frank Nolasco’s father, Pedro, was born in 1905 near the town of Zamora in Michoacan, Mexico.  He first came to the U.S. sometime in the early 1920s.  He worked for a while in Chicago before coming to Youngstown, where he found a job at Carnegie Steel, which would later be known as the Ohio Works of U.S. Steel.  Ultimately, Pedro Nolasco would work at U.S. Steel for 43 years. He left that job and returned to Mexico after a few years, where he met and married Frank’s mother, Rosa, who was also from Zamora.

Pedro & Rosa's wedding portrait
Pedro & Rosa’s wedding portrait

Although his father was from the country outside of town, Rosa was from the city, they met through a regular ritual of Sunday afternoon strolls around the town plaza.  They married in 1928, and Pedro returned to Youngstown to get a job before going back to get Rosa.

Rosa's Mexican government documents
Rosa’s Mexican government documents

Leaving home must have been hard for Rosa, and Frank remembers how she missed her family, especially during the holidays.  While they hoped to return to Mexico someday, they also appreciated the opportunities that moving to the U.S. could offer to them and their future children.

Neither Pedro nor Rosa spoke much English, but they found ways to communicate, and their English improved over time.

Pedro's green card
Pedro’s green card

In their neighborhood and in the steel mill, most people were recent immigrants, so they were all learning English together. The Nolascos returned to Zamora once again, in the early 1940s, in order to ensure that Frank would be born there. 


In part, Frank speculates, they wanted their families’ help and to give birth in a place where they could speak the language, because they thought he might have some medical problems.  Because the U.S. was at war, and Pedro was eligible to be drafted (even though he was not yet an American citizen), he had to get permission from the local draft board to go to Mexico. Because Frank was born in Mexico, his parents had to sneak him across the border when they came back to Youngstown.   His parents became citizens in 1948, and Frank followed suit a few years later – with some assistance from Attorney Don Hanni.

Rosa's naturalization papers
Rosa’s naturalization papers

The family settled in Brier Hill, in part because Pedro could walk to work from there.  Frank describes the neighborhood as friendly, a place where people looked out for each other.

The receipt for the purchase of Pedro & Rosa's home in Brier Hill
The receipt for the purchase of Pedro & Rosa’s home in Brier Hill

The Nolascos’ home became a gathering place for many of the Mexican families, and Frank remembers how much his parents enjoyed the opportunity to just converse, in Spanish, with friends from their home country.   Pedro was among the founders of the Sociedad Mutualista Mexicana, the Youngstown Mexican Club.

Frank Nolasco with his parents
Frank Nolasco with his parents

As a child, Frank’s first language was Spanish, but he learned English when he went to school at St. Ann’s Parish School. He later graduated from Ursuline High School, with his tuition paid by St. Ann’s Parish in exchange for Frank’s work around the church.  His parents insisted that he should go to college, but the cost of tuition and the availability of jobs kept Frank from being very motivated as a student at that point.   He worked for a while at a local tire store, and then as a janitor at Packard Electric.  In the mid-1960s, the U.S. military was drafting many young men to fight in the Vietnam war.  Just as he was about to be drafted, Frank enlisted in the Air Force Reserve. After his military service, Frank returned to Packard, now with a better job, but when he asked about getting a promotion, he was told that he needed a college degree.  With that motivation and the financial assistance of the GI Bill, he returned to Youngstown State University, earning a degree in business and accounting.  He was promoted to a supervisory position at Packard, where he worked for 38 years before retiring. Over the years, Mexican identity has been important to Frank, even though he has sometimes encountered discrimination.

Frank Nolasco today
Frank Nolasco today

He served three terms as President of the Mexican Club and now serves on the board of the Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana.  He’s pleased to see his son embracing Mexican identity, as well.

For more documents and photographs, visit the gallery.  You can also download the transcript of the complete interview with Frank Nolasco.

One Response to “The Nolasco Family”

  1. Roberto Berrun says:

    Hola amigo, como estas, me da mucho gusto encontrarte aunque sea de este medio. Me retire de Delphi hace un año y estoy en casa disfrutando de mi familia.
    Espero te acuerdes de mi persona estubimos trabajando en Warranty Engineering alla por el año 2000 junto con Rodolfo Rendon, mis hijos se acuerdan mucho de ti cuando los llevaste al parque de Base Ball de los Scrapers recuerdas.
    Ojala podamos seguir compartiendo recuerdos de este amigo de Mexico.
    Saludos y que Dios te ayude.
    Espero no se te haya olvidado el español porque a mi el ingles si, jaja.

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