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Benjamin "Benjie" Valdez Sr.

Benjamin A. Valdez Sr., 81, U.S. Navy Veteran and native of Cleveland, passed away peacefully on Feb. 3, 2014, at his home in Albuquerque, surrounded by his family.

Benjamin was born on Dec. 20, 1932, the beloved son of the late Annie T. and Desidero Valdez.

He enlisted in the United States Navy on Jan. 3, 1951. After completing basic training at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes, Boatswain Mate Valdez (Chico) reported for duty onboard USS Bennington (CVA-20), where he was given charge of a liberty launch and enjoyed transporting his shipmates to and from shore for some much needed R&R.

On 26 May 1954, Benjamin survived a devastating explosion onboard the U.S.S. Bennington, sustaining burns on more than 50 percent of his body. He recovered and was medically discharged on Nov. 15, 1954. He spent the next 40 years as an ironworker. In retirement he enjoyed traveling and tending a small herd of cattle in his picturesque hometown of Cleveland.

Benjamin was preceded in death by his wife, Marcia Valdez, his sister, Margaret Valdez and brother, Frank Valdez.

Survivors include his five children, Benjamin Valdez Jr., Virginia Valdez, Michael Valdez and wife, Julie, Eric Valdez and Maureen Valdez; grandchildren, Rose, Benny III, Richard and wife, Monica, Annie, Hannah, Alexandra, Tommy, Micheal Lawrence, Seth, Zachary, Mackenzie, Shawn, Josh, EloraDanan, Desi; great- grandchildren, Elena and Gavin (Cowboy); his uncle, Piciano Trujillo and wife, Oralia; his brothers, Juan Valdez and wife, Bonnie, Daniel Valdez, Desidero Valdez Jr. and Joseph Valdez; his sisters, Martha Caron and husband, Richard and Manuelita Valdez and Bruce; sister-in-law, Mary Valdez; nieces and nephews, Frankie, Johnny, Stephanie and husband, Joel, Deanna, Debra, April and husband, Lou, Juanito Jr., Wade and wife, Tami, Angelo, Adam and Junior, Rachel and Dean, Desiree and Jerome.

Ben is also survived by his partner of 38 years Vangie Casaus and her children, Francis and husband, Pat, Beatrice, Susie and husband, David, Annie, Shirley and husband, Antonio, Frankie and wife, Debbie, and Ramon and wife, Monica.

Funeral services for Ben will be held at Saint Gertrude Catholic Church in Mora as follows: Rosary will be recited tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Father Dennis Dolter at 10 a.m., Saturday. Interment will follow the mass at the San Antonio Cemetery in Cleveland.

Military honors for Ben will be provided by the Mora VFW Post #1131 along with the U.S. Navy Honor Guard. Serving as pallbearers will be: Richard Gallegos, Michael Lawrence Valdez, Benny Valdez III, Johnny Maes, Ramon Casaus and Frankie Casaus. Honorary pallbearers will be: Juan Valdez Sr., Desiderio Valdez Jr., and Daniel Valdez.

Visit www.nelsonfuneralhomelv.com for online condolences.

Funeral arrangements for Ben have been entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home; 801 Douglas Avenue, Las Vegas; 425-6551.
Published in Las Vegas Optic on Feb. 5, 2014
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