Patriarch of Calvo Enterprises

Eduardo Torres “Jake” Calvo (1909 – 1963) founded a number of extremely successful businesses that continue to thrive today and is the patriarch of a family that is perhaps the most well known family in business, civics, and politics on Guam. Calvo Enterprises, now run by Calvo’s sons and grandchildren, is the parent company of some of the largest companies on Guam, including Calvo’s Insurance, Pepsi Bottling Co., Mid-Pac Liquor Distributors, Calvo’s Realty, Payless Supermarkets, Pacific Telestations, and much more.

Began with insurance

Calvo was born on 30 June 1909, to Attorney Tomas Anderson Calvo and Regina Torres Calvo, and was the fourth of 12 children. He first job was at the Navy operated Bank of Guam from 1926 to 1944. During this time he decided to go into business for himself just prior to World War II. While still working for the bank, he became the general agent for American International Underwriters in 1938 and worked at first as a one-man operation out of his Hagåtña home. His business interests were put on hold during World War II while the island was under the control of the Japanese.

After World War II, he quit his job at the Bank of Guam and devoted himself full-time to his business. He provided typhoon and fire coverage, as well as workmen’s compensation and auto insurance. His new services came just as the military began expanding its bases on Guam after the war. The construction projects and increased military personnel with automobiles resulted in much business for Calvo’s Insurance. He eventually became Guam’s leading insurance agent. Calvo’s Insurance now exceeds $20 million a year in premiums and is Guam’s oldest and largest insurance company.

He expanded his success in insurance into other ventures, founding companies that are now among Guam’s most prominent: Pacific Trading Company, Ltd., Mid-Pacific Liquor Distributing Company, Pepsi Bottling Company, Royal Management, Calvo’s Realty and Management, Calvo’s Insurance, Title Guaranty and Hawaiian Life. He was a founder/partner of Guam Office Supply established in 1947, and founder of the Cliff which was one of the first hotels on Guam, established in Agana Heights in 1959.

Calvo married Veronica Mariano McDonald on 7 October 1933, and they had three sons: Paul, Edward and Jerry.

Political career

Calvo was also active politically, serving as an assemblyman of San Ignacio district in Hagåtña for 22 years starting in 1934, serving as the Budget chairman, and Speaker of the House of Assembly after World War II. He was also a member of the first, second, and third Guam Legislatures. In 1955, Calvo and other prominent members of the legislature broke away from the powerful Popular Party (which became the Democratic Party of Guam in 1960) to form the Territorial Party of Guam, the predecessor of the Republican Party of Guam.

Jake Calvo’s influential position in business and politics extended into the community, as he served as president of the Rotary Club, on the Board of Directors of Bank of Guam, Board of Trustees of the Guam Memorial Hospital, Executive Council of the Boy Scouts, and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Calvo legacy

Calvo’s oldest son, Paul, followed in his footsteps, serving as a prominent member of the Guam Legislature and becoming elected in 1978 as the third governor of Guam. Gov. Paul Calvo was one of the most influential members of the Republican Party of Guam and is president and chairman of the board of Calvo’s Enterprises. Paul’s son Eddie has served in the Guam Legislature and ran for lieutenant governor with gubernatorial teammate Antonio Unpingco in 2002. He successfully ran for Governor along with Ray Tenorio in 2010. Jake Calvo’s second-oldest son, Edward, also served in the Guam Legislature.

Eduardo Calvo was inducted as inaugural member of Guam Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 1992.

By Leo Babauta

For further reading

I Manfåyi: Who’s Who in Chamorro History. Vol. 1. The Hale’-ta Series. Hagåtña: Political Status Education and Coordinating Commission, 1995.

Rogers, Robert. Destiny’s Landfall: A History of Guam. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 1995.