Luis G. Valenzuela, 92, of Granger passed away Saturday morning, Jan. 27, 2007, at his home in Granger, surrounded by family and prayers.
Luis was born Aug. 6, 1914, in Kennedy, Texas to Constancia (Garza) and Mauro R. Valenzuela.
Dad was a very strong, hard-working farm worker. This was instilled in him by his mother and father. As a very young boy in Texas, his father would take him back to Concepcion near Laredo, to show him the many acres of land he harvested. Dad told stories of how this influenced his love for working the earth and his work ethics.
Dad married his childhood friend, Cruz Medina, in 1936. They eventually settled in south Texas, El Valle, and started their own family there. He always found the means to support his wife and family and performed many jobs; his primary work then was in cotton, from planting to harvesting. He told tales of also picking cotton in Oklahoma and Louisiana. In 1946, he first came to the Yakima Valley with his cousins, the Garcias, who had told him about the apple crop here. He joked that he just couldn't learn to pick apples, but was intrigued by the hops in the Valley. After working the hop fields in Moxee, he knew he would return, bringing the family and settling at the Golden Gate Hop Ranches in the Satus area in 1952, where the family would remain through 1971. Dad and the kids worked the hops at Golden Gate, Mike Hernandez and Harlan Shinn Hop Farms in the same Satus area until 1971, taking us to the coast to pick berries and vegetables during summer breaks. He then moved to Granger, where Dad continued to work in Satus and in the winters for S.S. Steiner and, yes, hops. By now a Garcia cousin, who had remained in the Upper Valley, would offer Dad work from time to time, asking for help with the apple harvest. At the end, Uncle Mercy Garcia would tease Dad that he was no apple picker. Dad must be so happy to see him again. In the interim years, we also followed the crops with Dad as the leader. He taught us to work in Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon and Idaho. Even when suffering a traumatic work related accident and losing three fingers, he returned to his work in only a couple of months. He was forced to retire in 1986, at the age of 72, due to a brain tumor.
He was a very strong and determined man. Although he survived the surgery and did amazingly well, it slowed him down considerably. His death was due to his advanced age. He could beat everything else. We miss you, Mom and our brother. Our faith and belief that we will see you again are stronger every day. Your grandchildren hold your memory in their hearts and will tell their children all about you and how much they admired and loved you.
Luis is survived by seven children, Alicia Ramirez of Portland, Ore., Louie Valenzuela Jr., Natividad (Eliberto) Guajardo, Valdemar (Aida) Valenzuela, Mero (Frances) Valenzuela, all of Granger, Janie (Ernesto) Cruz and Melida (German) Luna of Yakima; 35 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, and two great-great- grandchildren. He is also survived by one sister, Lucia Medina of Soledad, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Cruz; a son, Mauro; a brother, Esiquio; one sister, Natividad; and a nephew, Paul, whom he helped raise.
A very special thank you to the doctors and nurses in ICU at Toppenish Community Hospital for their undivided attention to Dad. It was a very difficult time for the family and they provided such care and concern to keep him and so many of us comfortable. This means a lot. With all our hearts we thank you.
Viewing and visitation will be held Monday, Jan. 29, 2007, from 4 to 8 p.m. with a Rosary to be recited at 6:30 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Sunnyside. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007, at noon at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Granger. Burial will follow at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside, under the di