ALHAMBRA — Services were pending Thursday for an Alhambra man who drowned last week while trying to save his teenage daughter from the rushing water of the Merced River in Mariposa County, family members said.Alfredo Damas, 45, died June 22 in the Briceburg area, Mariposa county sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
He was accompanying his 14-year-old daughter on a Girl Scout trip when the accident occurred, said his son, 25-year-old Edward Damas.
The father and daughter were wading in shallow water when the girl got caught up in a sudden surge of water, Edward Damas said. “He just dove in and went after her.”
Bystanders managed to pull the teenage girl to safety, however Damas drowned.
“It was tragic. It was all of a sudden. It was the last thing that any of us expected,” said Edward Damas.
Alfredo Damas had always been a dedicated father, his son said.
“I was surprised to find out that he died, but I wasn’t surprised to find out how he died (trying to save his daughter). I couldn’t imagine him passing any other way.”
Though traumatized by the incident, Alfredo Damas’ daughter was not seriously injured, Edward Damas said.
Alfredo Damas is survived by his wife, Josephine, daughter, Danielle, and son, Edward.
“He was 100 percent a family man,” his son said. “He taught me everything I know, from tying my first tie to catching a ball,” he said. “The same goes for my sister.”
Alfredo Damas had lived with his wife and children in Alhambra for the past decade, Edward Damas said.
He was raised in Los Angeles and attended Franklin High School before graduating the University of La Verne with a degree in business management.
He worked at the Southern California Gas Company, where he was a technical services supervisor, his son said.
“He spent his whole life in L.A. County,” he added.
Officials at the utility have expressed condolences to the family and described Alfredo Damas as a valued employee who will be dearly missed.
Edward Damas said he and his family have been encouraged by the large number of friends and CO-workers who have come forward to support them since the tragedy.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Damas family.