Sept. 10, 1933 - April 1, 2013
Joe, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, nephew, cousin and loyal friend passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home, surrounded by his loving family, on Monday, April 1, at 8 a.m., at the age of 79. Two hours later, in a well-conceived moment of perfect timing, he was joined on his journey home by his adoring older sister, Mary J. Torres.
Joe was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, the fourth son and fifth of 12 children born to the late Higinio and Julia (Garcia) Abeyta. From his early adolescence, Joe's deep love of family began to take shape when he was called upon to act as a caregiver for his aunt and uncle and help take care of their farm. In 1944, he and his family traveled by train from New Mexico to Vallejo in order to make a better life for themselves, and Joe made it his permanent home.
Joe attended Grant Elementary School as well as Franklin Junior High and graduated from Vallejo High School in 1952. During that time, he was a star catcher for multiple local city teams and developed a love for baseball that lasted all of his life.
Joe had already been delivering newspapers as a youngster when in 10th grade, he landed a part-time job at the Times Herald, a job that became full-time for the next 25 years. He perfected his trade as a linotypist, from apprentice to journeyman, and then worked in Oakland for two years at the Intercity Express before returning to the Times Herald. Due to a workers' strike in 1978, Joe changed professions and became a warehouseman for Lucky's for 17 years until his retirement.
From 1953 to 1955, Joe answered his country's call to duty in the US Army, where he proudly served as a sergeant in Korea and earned three medals for his bravery. Three years later, on May 3, 1958, Joe married Esperanza (Hope) Torres in Crockett, CA, and together they had three daughters, Saundra, Patricia and Loretta. They would have celebrated their 55th anniversary next month.
Joe and his many brothers and sisters were a weekly presence every Thursday at the Chris' Club, where they gathered for lunch and enjoyed interaction with other family members and friends. Joe was also a former Elks Lodge
participant and enjoyed camping and traveling. He was an avid fan of the 49ers and Giants and saw them win two World Series in the last three years.
An avid golfer, Joe's favorite times were spent cruising the fairways at Blue Rock Springs with his brothers and close friends. Joe's accuracy on the course was impeccable and his putting unmatched. He routinely walked off the green chuckling after winning "dollar sinkies" from the others in his group. His greatest joy, though, came from the special times he spent with his family. He always supported his grandchildren by closely following their athletic endeavors and attending their games, tournaments, competitions and dance recitals.
He was a strong, patient, sincere and humble man who will be remembered for his gentle kindness and infectious smile. He liked to say, "I'm just an ordinary man" but to his family he was an extraordinary man, a loving husband, and a proud father who never complained or had an unkind word for anyone. Joe's greatest legacy is and always will be his family.
Joe will be profoundly missed by his devoted wife, Esperanza (Hope); their three loving daughters, Saundra (Jonathan) Abeyta-Tain, Patricia Abeyta and Loretta (Michael Wagaman) Abeyta; grandchildren, Angelica (Damian) Vallis, Joe (Alma) Reyes, Alyssa and Jessica Reyes, and Michael Wagaman; and great-granddaughters, Adelina "Addy" Reyes, Yazmeen and Ilyanna Vallis, and his faithful and loving canine companion, "Tank," who never left his side.
Others who will feel his loss deeply include Joe's sister, Cecelia (Ray) Canepa; brothers, Jerry (Donna) and Leo (Lucia) Abeyta; and numerous nieces and nephews who loved him dearly and will always have fond memories of their "Uncle Joe." He is now reunited with his brothers, Nick (Katie), Vidal (Mary), John (Tessie), Donald, Gilbert and George Abeyta; and his sisters, Mary (Joe) Torres and Mariana (Ray) Cordeiro.
Joe's wife and children are especially grateful for the compassionate, continuing love and kindness that was always displayed by everyone who visited him or sent him well wishes. We would like to thank the wonderful staff at Vallejo Kaiser Hospice and specifically, Sarene, Bathsheba, Mary, Michelle and Darryl, who showed care, compassion and love while attending to our father.
A Rosary will be held at 7 p.m., on Sunday, April 7, at Twin Chapels Mortuary, 1100 Tennessee St., Vallejo. A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m., on Monday, April 8, at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, 925 Sacramento St., Vallejo. Committal service and inurnment will follow at All Souls Catholic Cemetery, 550 Glen Cove Road, Vallejo.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations in Joe's honor be made directly to Kaiser Hospice Vallejo, 1761 Broadway, Ste 101, Vallejo, CA 94589. Please sign the online guest-book at www.timesheraldonline.com.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of Twin Chapels Mortuary, Vallejo, (707) 552-6696.