GENOA - A retired U.S. Gypsum supervisor, who with his late wife, Maria, owned a local bakery and impressed on his children the importance of work and education, Esteban "Steve" DeHoyos died Wednesday in Mercy St. Charles Hospital, Oregon. He was 79.
Mr. DeHoyos, who lived in Ottawa County's Clay Township, was admitted to the hospital Saturday after a stroke. He had a second stroke and did not recover, said his daughter, Diane DeHoyos.
After a 2009 leg amputation, he said, "'It could have been worse,' " his daughter recalled. He went through physical therapy and used a prosthesis.
"I had a lot of admiration for him because he practiced walking every day and did his exercises and was very committed to continuing his life," Miss DeHoyos said.
Mr. DeHoyos found work at the U.S. Gypsum Co. plant in Genoa in the 1950s, not long after he and his family moved to Ohio from Texas. To become an electrician, he attended night classes at the former Macomber Vocational High School in Toledo.
"Little by little, he worked his way up," his daughter said. "They gave him opportunities and [he] took them."
At U.S. Gypsum, he was on call around the clock.
"If they called him at 3 o'clock in the morning, he would go. He would never say no," his daughter said. "We have a tremendous work ethic because of what we saw growing up. 'No' was not an option."
He retired in 1997 as an electrician supervisor.
In the late 1960s, Mr. DeHoyos and his wife opened a bakery on state Rt. 51 that featured traditional Mexican-American pastries and tortillas, but that also sold music on tape and LP records. The children pitched in, and each had a role: baking, bookkeeping, customer service.
Mr. DeHoyos helped out before and after his job, and delivered bread to area migrant farm-worker camps.
"They were a team, those two. They did everything together," daughter Diane said.
The couple closed the business in the 1970s so their children could devote full attention to school activities. He'd left high school before graduation to work, but he and his wife at home stressed the importance of education. Their children all took instrumental music lessons, all went to Cardinal Stritch High School - daughter Petra Reyna eventually taught there - and Bowling Green State University.
"It was visionary on both their parts," said daughter Diane, who is working on a doctorate at the University of Texas-El Paso, where she is director of purchasing and general services.
Born Dec. 18, 1933, to Petra and Manuel DeHoyos in Robstown, Texas, Mr. DeHoyos played center and guard on the Robstown High School football team. His older sister, Juanita, and her husband had worked in northwest Ohio, and in the 1950s, Mr. DeHoyos, his wife, and their family settled in Genoa.
"They wanted to make a better life," his brother Robert said. "I looked up to him all the time. He had high standards. He was a very devoted family man and a very devoted Catholic."
Mr. DeHoyos was a longtime member of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Genoa. He and his wife were active in the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement.
"My father was very noble, a person with true integrity," daughter Diane said. "Above and beyond everything, he was just a nice man. Nice is underrated. He was nice to my mother, to his children, to his co-workers."
He was a veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard Reserve.
He and his wife, Maria, married May 10, 1953. She died June 26, 2000. His daughter, Petra Reyna, 57, died Dec. 4, 2011.
Surviving are his daughters, Diane DeHoyos and Rose Mary Gonzalez; son, Esteban DeHoyos, Jr.; brothers, Robert and Manuel DeHoyos; sister, Juanita Silva; seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be in the Robinson-Walker Funeral Home, Genoa, from 2-8 p.m. today, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 p.m. in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Genoa.
The family suggests tributes to the office of institutional advancement at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Contact Blade staff writer Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
Published in Toledo Blade on Dec. 28, 2012