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Sylvia T. Valdez


1926 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Sylvia T. Valdez Obituary
Sylvia T. Valdez, 91 of Ignacio, Colorado passed on February 6, 2018 after a prolonged illness. He was surrounded by family and friends at his home. He was the oldest living Southern Ute Indian Tribal member. Sylvia was born March 2, 1926 on the family ranch in Ignacio to Jose M. Valdez and Euterpe Taylor.

He attended the government boarding school in Ignacio at the Southern Ute Agency. He worked for 35 years for the US Government Bureau of Indian Affairs as a coach, laborer, Caterpillar driver, and cook. After his retirement, he worked an additional 8 years for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe as a Food Distribution clerk and manager.

Sylvia spent 30 years on the Southern Ute Tribe's Committee of Elders. He was also elected Chairman by the Committee members for many years. He spoke five languages fluently and helped teach Ute values to students and faculty associated with the Colorado Historical Society and Colorado History Day.

He was a lifelong advocate for youth sports and coached many championship baseball and basketball teams.

Sylvia was an excellent musician and was exceptionally accomplished at electric and acoustic guitar, piano, trumpet, saxophone, drums, harmonica and accordion. He had an excellent singing voice and performed until a few months before his passing.

More than anything he loved going for long rides, telling funny stories, fishing, hunting the Washington Redskins and the Ignacio Bobcats.

He is survived by his loving wife and best friend of nearly 50 years Barbara Valdez, his children: Gene Valdez (Lorraine), Marilyn Cotton (Leroy*), Marie Rivas (Hank*) of Pagosa, Venerita Valdez (Sherri), Sylvian D. Valdez (Patricia), Sherman M. Valdez, Carole D. Valdez, Wendell Bruce Valdez, Johnny T. Valdez (Wendy), Christopher C. Valdez (Cindy), Tina N. Valdez (Amelia), Sylvia Ann Valdez (Jaye), Sabrina Ann Valdez, and Dayna Esparza (all of Ignacio except as noted). (*deceased)

He is also survived by his sister Theresa Velasquez of Durango, 39 grandchildren and hundreds of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, daughter Josephine Valdez-Howe Lister, son Raymond Valdez and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

A memorial service will be conducted Friday, February 9, 2018 at 10:00 am at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church and a dinner celebrating his life will be held immediately after at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose center; both in Ignacio.
Published in The Durango Herald on Feb. 8, 2018
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