Joaquin M. “Apa” Reyes, peacefully took his last breath here on this earth Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, following a noble and valiant battle with pancreatic cancer. He was blessed to have had all his surviving children and many of his grand-and great–grandchildren lovingly by his side in the days preceding his death. Apa was grateful to have reached 93 years of age, but he was prepared and ready to go to his rest until Jesus comes to take him to his heavenly home.

Apa was born and spent his early years in Edinburg, Texas. His first and only classroom was the open range beyond his boyhood town, where he spent his days exploring, investigating and swimming in the ponds. Those were the days before truancy officers. On New Year’s Eve, 1933, he married the young and lovely Maria Galaviz. In 1944 they moved to the Yakima Valley with the three children they had at the time.

Apa worked for many years as a laborer on a hop farm outside Sunnyside, named Sick’s Hop Ranch. Then he worked for Golob Ranches in Sunnyside until his retirement. He toiled long and hard, oftentimes under harsh conditions in an effort to provide for his growing family. Apa had a strong work ethic and was known for his physical strength and fitness.

He was committed to his family and, like any parent, wanted better for his children than he had for himself.

He raised them with a firm but loving hand. He and his wife “Ama” had a strong faith in God and raised their children knowing the Lord.

They were members of the Central Valley Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Toppenish, where Apa served as a deacon and an elder. Apa was a man of many talents, especially known for his ingenuity. His family would often marvel at his ability to devise a needed item or repair a broken one out of spare parts, such as the homemade grass catcher he made for the lawn mower.

He enjoyed carving and woodworking. He cleverly designed and built many birdhouses, benches, chairs, etc.

Apa also tried his hand in the kitchen, making a mean batch of tortillas. And sometimes, when things got slow, he would join Ama and start a crocheting project, just for the fun of it.

He won several trophies and awards, but the one he was most proud of was the one he won for having the fastest time in his age bracket at the Spokane Bloomsday Run. Ama’s and Apa’s house was the weekly gathering place for the children and grandchildren. They were devoted to their children as their children were devoted to them. There are so many precious memories, so many stories and so many lessons learned that are riches beyond measure.

Apa, you may go to your rest in peace, knowing that no one could have expected more from you. You served your God with faithfulness. You loved and were loved. Your passing leaves a huge void in our lives and you will be greatly missed, but you have left a treasure in our hearts forever. Thank you for your blessing.

Joaquin is survived by seven daughters, Eva Perez (Fred) of Mabton, Vicenta “Cindy” Crowe (Gary), Sophia Salinas (Juan), Olivia Trevino (Julio), and Sylvia Reyes, all of Grandview, Berta Lesch (Dan) of Kodiak, Alaska and Elodia Garcia of Salem, Ore.; three sons, Wenceslao “Cisco” Reyes (Susie), Joaquin (Jake) Reyes Jr. and Chris Reyes, all of Sunnyside; one son-in-law, Dave Driscoll; one sister, Andrea Espinoza; 16 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Maria G. Reyes in 2003; two daughters, Dora Driscoll in 2002 and an infant daughter, Vicenta Reyes; two brothers, Cristobal and Wenceslao; and three sisters, Teodora Alaniz, Olivia Vasquez and Sofia Rodriguez.

Viewing and visitation will be held Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006, from 3:30 to 8 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside. Funeral services will be held Friday, Nov. 10, 2006, at 9 a.m. at Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside. Burial will be at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens, under the direction of Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside.


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