Monthly Archives: July 2021

Edward Valenzuela Baltierra

Edward Baltierra, 85, of Stillwater, OK, passed away at his home early on July 20, 2021.

Eddie was born in Atwater, California, on September 13, 1935, to Leon and Pauline (Valenzuela) Baltierra. He was the eleventh of thirteen children. He had been sick for a time as an infant. He always credited his brother Ralph for the blood transfusion that saved his life.

Ed grew up in Firebaugh, CA. He was given a special license to drive at 12 years old because his father was sick and he needed to help his family. He went to Dos Palos High School. He played baseball. When he was 17, one of his best friends, Dinki Allen, convinced him to enlist in the army. His mom had to sign a permission slip to let him go. While Dinki was sent to Germany, Eddie was sent to Korea. Eddie did his basic training at Camp Roberts.

Aloha!

He went to Hawaii and Japan first before Korea. He became a cook. His first time making biscuits, the soldiers threw the hard rocks at the wall to see them explode. When his service ended he had achieved the rank of Staff Sargent. It was one of the greatest times of his life.

Striking a post in chilly Korea.

By the time he came home, his family had moved to San Jose, CA. He was a member of the San Joaquin Club, where he made so many good friends, especially the Plata brothers. He started working at Ford Motor Company’s Milpitas plant where he met great friends such as Arnold Fimbrez, Mr. Boone, Bart, and Sam Varela.

There are no words for how much Ed loved these guys.

They played baseball and partied together. Eddie loved Rock n’ Roll music. Back in the 1950’s, many famous musicians came through San Jose. One of his favorite stories was when he was still in his army uniform. He caught the Platters performing. He asked the lovely Zola Taylor to dance with him, and she did!

Edwina, Edith and Ed on the day of her baptism.

Eddie married Edith Escalante September 4, 1965. They made their home in San Jose, CA. They had one daughter together, Edwina.

Ed carrying Edwina after a long day at the San Francisco Zoo.

Eddie worked 30 years with Ford Motor Company, primarily at the Milpitas plant. He retired from Ford in 1987. Right before retiring he walked through the assembly line in St. Paul, Minnesota, and had his yellow F-150 pick up truck made with the help of his co-workers and friends.

Big Ed and his truck made it into the Arizona Daily Star, 2010.

In 1988, the family moved to Paso Robles, CA. Being a people person, Eddie bartended at the Black Oak Restaurant. He and Edith moved to Tucson in 2001, where he was a shuttle bus driver to the Skyport Airport in Phoenix, and a greeter at Kroger in his later years. He was the proud owner of a beautiful Golden Lab named Abby.

Eddie reluctantly came to live in Stillwater, OK, with Edith in 2017 to be closer to their family in their “Golden Years.” We are ever grateful for the family holidays, birthdays, and Boy Scout events we all got to share these last four years. We managed to keep him safe during the pandemic too.

Ed’s 85th birthday – September, 2020.

He is survived by: his wife of almost 56 years Edith Escalante and his daughter Edwina Kersten; his son-in-law Ted Kersten who was so supportive and caring, helping wherever he could during Ed’s illness- as much as any son would; His pride and joy was his grandson Matthew Edward W. Kersten.

Matthew and his Abuelito during a visit to Tucson.

He is also survived by his sister, Irene Leyva; his sister-in-law Frances Escalante-Fox, whom he loved and would help move whenever she called on him over the decades. Those other very special family members to Ed were his “cuñado” Alex Escalante, special brother’s-in-law Art Escalante and Butch Escalante, Ted’s mom, Betty Kersten, friends Dinki Allen and Elmer Belmont, and all his nieces and nephews who have kept in touch over the years.

Thanksgiving 2020 – Ted, Ed, Edwina, Matthew, Edith and Betty.

A small memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Special thanks to Dinki for helping Ed to have his first Zoom meeting. He loved it. Edith and Edwina would like to thank those family and friends who sent best wishes, calls, messages, and flowers to Ed before the end.