Gerardo Bazaldua, 82, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, due to health complications at his home in Mabton, surrounded by his family.
He was born Nov. 23, 1930 in Lomalta, Mexico to Maria Torres and Natividad Basaldua.
When Gerardo was 14 years old, his father died leaving him with much responsibility. It was an experience that deeply impacted his life. He then moved to Texas to live with a relative in order to find employment and a better way of life.
Shortly after arriving in U.S., he began working a variety of farm labor jobs including one at an experimental agriculture processer plant in Weslaco, Texas.
Gerardo met Maria Leal in Hualahuises, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. They married on Sept. 20, 1962 in Linares, Nuevo Leon. Maria stayed in Hualahuises during the first five years of their marriage and then joined him in 1967.
Gerardo and Maria settled in Mabton and Gerardo began working for Yakima Chief Ranches. It was there, that he met Harlan and Ed Shinn. When they recognized his work ethic, he was invited to work for the Shinn Ranches. Gerardo and Maria then moved to the Satus area and made it their home. Hard work was important to him and he worked himself up the ranks becoming the foreman of the ranch.
He enjoyed working on the farm and the relationships he made. He had an interesting way of communicating with his bosses, speaking "Spanglish" over the two-way radio. He took his position seriously and would often go to neighboring towns on the weekend looking for people who might want to work. He also made sure that all of his children learned the importance of hard work and they were all enlisted to work on the ranch with him from time to time in various jobs that he found for them. Because of this work ethic, the family purchased their home in Mabton in 1982. He was proud to pay cash for their home.
He worked for Shinn & Son, Inc. for 30 years. After retiring, he returned to work for the Simpson Ranch and the Shinn Ranch as his health permitted.
Gerardo was an outdoorsman and enjoyed being outside. He did not like idle hands. He enjoyed "plinking" with his guns, hunting and tending his roses. He also enjoyed going to dances with his wife. He had a love for old cars, especially his `59 Impala and Lincoln Mark IV.
He was a faithful member of the Catholic Church.
On Sept. 20, 2012 Gerardo and Maria celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and enjoyed a family dinner with all their children. Because of Gerardo's ailing health, this was a special celebration.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Maria Bazaldua; his six children: Edna (Rolando) Bono of San Antonio, Texas, Blanca (Javier) Bazaldua of Mabton, Gerardo Jr. (Toni) Bazaldua of Sunnyside, Miguel (Christina) Bazaldua of Sunnyside, San Juanita "Janie" (Geronimo) Coronado of Kennewick and Benjamin (Alexandria) Bazaldua of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and by his 11 grandchildren. He was very proud of all his children and grandchildren. He is also survived by four brothers, Lazaro Bazaldua and Miguel Bazaldua of Mexico and Reynaldo Bazaldua of Texas.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Francisco Bazaldua.
Mass and the Holy Rosary were performed on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Grandview.
Valley Hills Funeral Home in Sunnyside was in care of arrangements.