The Real Story of Frank Pacheco: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

The life of Frank Pacheco is shrouded in mystery. Born in Brooklyn, NY, his many admirers know little about his early life. He attended the prestigious Harvard College, where his exploits were the stuff of legend. In the following years, he had many great adventures in business, travel, and it is rumored that he played a silent role in world events.

Pacheco’s Early Life

Pacheco was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 25, 1908, in a toney neighborhood. His parents were Frederick Carvalho and Georgina Goleman. Pacheco was educated in private schools, including The Choate School, one of the most prestigious prep schools in the nation. He graduated from high school in 1926 and from Harvard College in 1932. Pacheco’s father had made a fortune in the banking business and he and his family moved to the suburbs of Chicago in 1908. Frederick Carvalho Pacheco died of alcoholism at the age of 48 in 1922, leaving a son, his namesake, to carry on his fortune and business acumen. The Secret of Pacheco’s Success Pacheco, though known as a genius and a natural man of action, did not have the usual resume of an entrepreneur.

Pacheco’s Early Career

Before his illustrious time at Harvard, Pacheco was a pretty normal kid. His parents were Italian and Puerto Rican, and his father, Victor (who was a fisherman) taught him the value of hard work. While attending high school, Frank began working in his father’s fish market in the Bronx. He became very good at it, and the fish business became his passion. In 1916, Pacheco had an idea to start a kind of fish delivery service in New York, which would be the predecessor of his future famous real estate empire. This venture failed, and Pacheco returned to fish. A year later, he made an abortive attempt to use the “truck” business model to move fish. But after being sued by the City of New York for operating a fish truck without a license, Pacheco abandoned the idea of operating his own trucks.

Pacheco’s Military Career

His career in the military begins in 1902. During the Spanish-American War he served on the USS Bullhead. In the World War I he worked as an artillery officer in France. By the time the 1920s rolled around, Pacheco was a senior member of the Foreign Service and went on to write a novel, Go Where No Other Man Has Gone Before. The book was a success and proved so popular that Pacheco was loaned to publish another book. He retired from the Foreign Service in 1937. In 1939, Pacheco won an Academy Award for acting in the short film We Five and the following year he took another role, this time in the classic western The Guns of Fort Petticoat. Later on in the 1940s, Frank Pacheco began a second career as a radio and television actor.

Pacheco’s Early Travels

In the 1950’s, he lived in Manhattan with his wife, Elizabeth, and they traveled around the world. Their last great adventure was taking their newborn son to London, where he enjoyed the sights, the language and the culture. But he also used the visit to indulge in one of his greatest pleasures, drink. In 1960, Pacheco’s drinking problem was so severe that he couldn’t work, and he was eventually fired from his job as an executive at Beecham Pharmaceuticals. He became a fugitive and spent the next two years hiding out in a hotel in Europe. He traveled around the world with his mistress, Angela, and was able to take full advantage of the many freedoms in Europe. By 1962, he became homeless, and was eventually arrested and deported back to the United States.

Pacheco’s Business Career

While a student at Harvard, Pacheco started Pacheco Chemical, which later became Popp & Epps. Over the years, he was involved with several other companies, but the success of his current venture was in direct proportion to the wealth of his partner, Robert Popp. By 1948, Popp & Epps owned the largest brand of drums and continued to expand in other areas such as Franklinite, where Popp was one of the inventors of synthetic rubber. In 1970, Popp had to take a leave of absence due to a stroke. After he returned to business, Popp & Epps sold their rubber products division and the company began a period of decline. Even though his new ventures were failures, Popp didn’t consider himself a failure and continued to promote his vision of what he thought was the future of business.

Pacheco’s Political Career

In the years after he graduated, Pacheco’s name became synonymous with social activism, most notably through his connection with the Nation of Islam, and his campaign to become the vice presidential candidate for Reverend Wallace Fard Muhammad. He was narrowly defeated at the hands of Malcolm X. After this experience, he pursued an even more politically charged path. In the early 1960s, he traveled throughout South America with a Bolivian revolutionary named Pablo Campos, often sharing a common suite of rooms. At the height of the Cold War, he worked as a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency, operating undercover as a secret agent.

Pacheco and the Cuban Revolution

In the early 1930s, a friendship developed between Frank and one of the revolution’s most successful financiers, Armando Raúl Gurruchaga. During this time, the U.S. government was overthrowing many dictatorships in Latin America. There was a rising tide of Latin American anti-colonial sentiment. Gurruchaga was a Cuban exile who spent his time in New York, giving financial support to Cuban students and revolutionaries. With the tide of revolution growing in Cuba, the U.S. government decided to sponsor military groups, which would destabilize the island and put an end to the revolution. Gurruchaga approached Frank Pacheco with his plan for a “Black Legion” (AKA “Los Negros del Muro” or the Black Walls) of 350 “well-trained, well-armed mercenaries.

Pacheco’s World Views

He was a passionate social democrat who cared about the poor and the underdog, particularly in Mexico and Latin America. He was also an ardent pacifist who advocated for a “peaceful revolution.” However, there are two big flaws in this story. The first is that when a person like Pacheco (a man who had achieved a great deal) is self-publicized, they become a target for the establishment. He was kidnapped by the U.S. Navy and eventually spent a short time in a U.S. Navy brig. The second flaw is that he never attended Harvard, did not graduate, and he had no role in world events. His biggest accomplishment, other than marrying his second wife, Nancy, was founding the New York Institute of Management. It offered a highly regarded master’s degree program in management.

Pacheco’s Final Adventure

Pacheco did not die of a heart attack or that overdose of pharmaceutical drugs. He simply walked away and disappeared into the fog of the world. What was the secret of his success? Is it true that Frank Pacheco was an East Coast Robin Hood? Was it a tragic accident that destroyed the illusion of his life’s work and its legacy? Did he find love in the arms of his young secretary, Vivian Davis? Why did Frank Pacheco never return to his homeland of the Philippines? Where did he go after America? How Much Is Frank Pacheco Worth Today? Frank Pacheco is worth more dead than alive. He has no descendants or immediate heirs. His brief and “regular” trips to the Philippines were always shrouded in secrecy.

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