Manuel (Val) Valdez had a life full of adventure but sadly the adventures came to an end with his passing on February 11th, 2022, two months short of his 94th birthday. He died peacefully in his sleep with family at his bedside.
Val was born in Temple, Oklahoma in 1928 and grew up during the depression when times were hard and opportunities few.
He joined the Navy when he was 17. His Navy career sent him to California, Japan, the Philippines, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and deployments on aircraft carriers such as the Midway.
He retired as a Senior Chief after serving for 30 years. He received the Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with/Palms, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and United Nations Service Medal.
Val met his wife Shirley in the Navy. Val and Shirley were together for 67 years until Shirley’s passing in late 2018. They were always together and took care of each other through thick and thin.
Val and Shirley called Whidbey Island home for over 60 years. They loved to fish, hunt and hike in the woods for wild mushrooms. Trips to Nevada were high on their list of things to do and garage sales.
Val was a huge rodeo fan, he collected American made knives, estate sales, and his favorite tv shows were the Pickers and Oak Island.
Favorite food: snickers, maple bars and really anything sweet, he was our official clam chowder taster.
Val was a kind, generous soul who always said, “thank you.” He had a mischievous twinkle in his eyes and loved to play around, traits he passed on to his son Bob. One of our young friends called him “a cool dude”, others said he was a “gem.”
When asked the secret for living so long he liked to say, “be sure to look both ways before crossing the road and avoid exercise and then he would laugh.”
Val is survived by his son Bob, who is retired and lives in Oregon with his partner Toni, and four sisters who reside in Oklahoma Mary Pearl, Delfa, Madeline and Virginia.
Val will be buried in Portland, Oregon at the Willamette National Cemetery with military honors.