Mark, Guadalupe, and Roque at Roque & Mark’s opening party in December 1965.
Guadalupe Rodriguez, the wife of Roque & Mark co-founder Roque Rodriguez, passed away on March 10, 2023. A devout and classy lady, she raised a large family despite many hardships and enabled her children, and others in the Santa Monica community, to live the American dream.
Immigrants from Mexico, Roque and Guadalupe were active in their church and local Santa Monica community. They started a family of seven children. However, during the 1950s and 1960s, they faced discrimination, such as when they tried to buy a home for their growing family. People refused to sell to them because of their Mexican heritage, and some even got city inspectors involved. But not everybody was like this. The couple was very respected by their neighbors and colleagues as role models.
Roque met his future business partner A. “Mark” Markevicius when they both worked at the Santa Monica real estate office of Mort Richey. Roque and Mark ultimately decided to start their own business, which opened its doors in 1965. It was a time when people didn’t want to do business with Mexican or European immigrants, sometimes cursing them with epithets. But the partners took the leap and opened their first office on Santa Monica Boulevard. Today the Stanford West building, a property built and managed by Roque & Mark, sits on the site of this original office location, a few blocks east of the current offices.
Mark described his partner as the hardest-working man he’d ever met, and they made a great team. Together, they helped over 100 working-class Mexican-American families buy their first homes. They made unlikely deals happen using hard work and innovative financing options. Today the value of those homes means families have become millionaires. They also helped many local residents, including fellow immigrants, to buy income property. These investments helped hundreds of families build financial freedom, such as paying for college tuition for young people who were the first in their families to study at university. Many of these properties are still held by second and third generations.
Just three years after the business was launched, tragedy struck when Roque died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 46. It was late 1968, and Guadalupe had become a young widow with seven children. The eldest was fourteen years old, and the youngest was just a baby. She raised them on her own with grace, love, and strong religious values. She enjoyed many grandchildren and great-grandchildren before suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for many years. She passed away at the age of 92.
After her husband’s passing, Mark assumed sole ownership of Roque & Mark, and one of the ways Mrs. Rodriguez provided for her family was by partnering with Mark in construction projects of small rental properties which even now, over fifty years later, house Santa Monica residents and families. All of the Rodriguez children ended up working at the Roque & Mark office through the years, including daughters Irma and Yolanda who went on with Scott Tucker to start their own real estate office in West Los Angeles, RST & Associates. Irma has served as president of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and was a prominent spokesperson for small landlords facing economic hardships during the covid pandemic.
Roque & Mark Real Estate continues to serve the community, now in its 58th year. Zina Markevicius, vice president of Roque & Mark and Mark’s daughter, said “Mrs. Rodriguez is part of why we are working here today. We thank her and wish her and her family peace.”