Cabrera, Arcides “Art” José de Jesús
June 20, 1929 – March 9, 2023
Celebration of Life – Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 5:00PM – 7:00PM at West Center Chapel
Arcides was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 1929 to parents, Pedro Cabrera y Roman and María Antonia Porras. The area was known mainly for its tobacco production while also being made up of farms and cattle ranches. Arcides would leave his home at a young age and follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the military and, eventually, making his way to the Cuban Highway Patrol. Those were some of his best memories of home – crossing the rural highways and the small towns of Cuba on his 1949 Harley Davidson Panhead Police motorcycle. Always being an approachable, outgoing and social character, he made friends all over the country, some that would last a lifetime.
During Arcides’ later years in Cuba, he would often ride along with President Fulgencio Batista’s motorcade as he made visits and stops throughout the country. In the late 1950s, as Castro’s Revolution was starting to take hold in the mountains and rural parts of Cuba, Arcides knew he’d have to make a political choice – and joining a communist movement was not an option for him. On an early morning in late 1958, Arcides joined a few other like-minded Cuban military personnel on a runway. They would take a military plane and fly to Miami to seek exile and plot their next move against Castro. After living in Miami for roughly one year, in late 1959, Arcides joined the CIA for a mission later known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, where he was trained and deployed as a paratrooper in April 1961. The US-sponsored mission in Cuba failed, and some men of Brigade 2506 perished while others, Arcides among them, were imprisoned in Cuba until being released via negotiations in December 1962.
After a brief time in Miami, Arcides moved to Omaha, NE, in 1963, where he became a part of a small community of Cuban ex-pats. He began working construction and, in 1964, married his first wife, Julia, later having a daughter, Rebecca Ann, in 1966. In 1974, Arcides remarried Pilar (Blanco) Cabrera, with whom he had a daughter, Raquel María, and a son, Ariel Jesús. After his first few years with Kiewit Construction, Arcides moved to Hawkins Construction, where he remained for over 20 years until 1988. After a back injury forced a change of profession, Arcides began to work at UNO as a Custodian in the early 90s, where he remained for nearly 25 years until he retired in 2016. He loved the job and, most of all, the people that he interacted with on a daily basis. From colleagues to professors to students, he made friends everywhere he went. He enjoyed being able to meet and learn about the students from Latin America who were just arriving in Omaha, often offering any help he could.
If you knew Arcides, you knew that he was a hard worker and a dedicated man. He loved boxing, motorcycles, Cadillacs, washing his truck, working on his lawn, tending to his tomato garden, and relaxing in his yard. One of his favorite pastimes was visiting with his friends, and he made it a point to call them regularly. He took pride in helping friends and family with remodeling and home improvement projects. He also loved working on cars, always offering to help friends with repairs. Throughout his life and whatever hardship he endured, he remained an affable, welcoming person, willing to lend a hand at all times. Arcides was a fixture in his neighborhood and on the corner of 62nd and Pacific. He was a pillar for his family, and his friends, and a treasure for all those lucky enough to have known him. He is loved by so many and will be truly missed.
Arcides is survived by his wife of 49 years, Pilar Cabrera; daughters, Rebecca Cabrera and Raquel Diesing (Dr. T. Scott); son, Ariel Cabrera (Cassandra); grandchildren: Liam, Emily, Tyler, Stella, Adrián, and Camila.