Former Durango resident Desiderio Valdez died Sunday, April 15, 2012, in Oklahoma City after a short battle with cancer. He was 80.
Known as “Dessie,” he was born to Emma Valdez-Montoya on Sept. 23, 1931, in Lumberton, N.M. He moved to Durango when he was 15 and began working at the sawmill.
On Aug. 25, 1950, he married Alejandrena “Rena” Jaramillo in Durango.
The couple lived in Durango until 1990, when Mr. Valdez’s work in mining led to a move to Beatty, Nev. Before he started mining, he was a logger for many years.
Mr. Valdez returned to Durango in 2007, after his wife died. He had moved to Oklahoma City earlier this year.
“He was a very creative man who loved to work with his hands,” his family said. “He especially loved to create things with pictures and stickers. He was a jokester and loved making people laugh. And we can’t forget his love of casinos.”
Mr. Valdez was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Rena Valdez; and sons Leonard Valdez and Tom Valdez.
He is survived by his daughters Berlinda Mestas of Durango, Barbara “Bob” Owen of Oklahoma City and Deidra Valencia of Austin, Texas; sons Ray Valdez of Durango and Ron Valdez of Ridgecrest, Calif.; sisters Theresa Romero and Edna Montoya, both of Durango, and Socorro Abeyta of Aztec; brothers Rubel Montoya, Frank Montoya and Joe Montoya, all of Durango; 11 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Cremation has occurred. A rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Friday, May 4, 2012, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 254 East Fifth Ave. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012, also at Sacred Heart. The Rev. Larry Gallegos will be the celebrant. Burial of the ashes will take place at Greenmount Cemetery after the Mass.