Daniel Carlos Valdez, Sr. of Los Alamos, New Mexico passed away on Friday, August 4, 2023, at the age of 99. After several months of declining health, Daniel died peacefully in his sleep at Sombrillo Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Daniel was born in Antonito, Colorado on May 2, 1924, to Andres Valdez and Petronila Martinez. He was the youngest of ten children. After graduating from Antonito High School in 1943, Daniel studied for the priesthood at the Passionist Preparatory Junior College, in St. Louis, MO, but had to withdraw due to illness. He moved to Los Alamos in 1946 on the recommendation of his Aunt Bertha Martinez who told him Los Alamos National Laboratory was hiring.
Daniel became a Prototype Machinist and spent the next four decades of his life doing work he loved with people he enjoyed. He considered his work for the Lab as the highlight of his career and was proud of the fact that the products he produced were one of a kind, and that he had the opportunity to work in a team with people from around the world. He met a local lab secretary, Jessie Garibay, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Their first date was to go to Monday night Rosary, and together they remained active in the church ever since. They married in June of 1949 and recently celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary on June 24th of this year.
Daniel was the longest serving member and founding member of the Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council #3137 in Los Alamos, having joined the organization in 1949. He remained a member all his life, holding several offices and volunteering his time to visit ailing members at home and in the hospital and taking Communion to people in the hospital and nursing homes.
Daniel loved living in Los Alamos because of the people, and because it is a small community where everyone knows each other. He liked the wonderful schools in Los Alamos and great opportunities for children in the community. Daniel dedicated his free time to volunteer in the community serving as a manager of the Los Alamos Little League for 30 years with various teams. He performed and worked backstage in various presentations of the Los Alamos Light Opera, Little Theatre, and Don Juan Playhouse, including My Fair Lady, Man of LaMancha, and Fiddler on the Roof.
After retiring in 1986, Daniel kept active by gardening, reading, swimming, visiting his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and visiting friends at the Los Alamos and White Rock Senior Centers. Daniel credits his long life to genetics and always staying active, eating well, having an active social life with his many friends, and staying active in the church.
Daniel was preceded in death by his parents, brothers and sisters, and by his beloved oldest son, Daniel Carlos Valdez Jr in 2004. He is survived by his wife and best friend Jessie Garibay Valdez, his children Genevieve Diane Valdez of Albuquerque, NM, Stephen Kenneth Valdez of Athens, GA, Andrew & Rosaria Valdez of Sierra Vista, AZ and his 17 grand and great-grandchildren.
Rosary is planned for 7 p.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Los Alamos on August 30, 2023. A funeral Mass will take place the following day, August 31, 2023 at 10 a.m., with private family viewing time prior- again at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. A reception will follow at the IHM Parish Hall. All are invited to attend.
Daniel will be buried at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in Albuquerque Friday, Sept. 1 at 12 p.m.
People wishing to honor Daniel’s lifelong commitment to his community can make donations to American Forests. https://give.americanforests.org/ways-to-give/memorial-gift-trees/