BURIEN, WA. — It is with great sadness that the family of Frank A. Valdés, Jr. (aka Paco & Punky) announces that after a brief illness Frank passed away June 12, 2019 in Burien, Wash. at the age of 88. Frank was born May 29, 1931 in Alamosa and raised nearby in Antonito. He was an only child and is preceded in death by his parents Frank A. Valdez and Ruth (Romero) Valdez and a baby brother Harold.
Frank is survived by his children: Diane (Valdés) Tomasevich, Frank A. Valdés III, Sharon (Valdés) Huling, Daniel Valdés and Marc Valdés; by his grandchildren Stephanie Witt, Jaime Huling Delaye, Grant Huling, Julia Casillas, Ashlee Della-Franca, and Daniel, Joshua, Adam, Natalie, Michael, and Andrew Valdés; as well as seven great-grandchildren.
During the Korean War Frank served in the aviation branch of the U.S. Navy and was stationed at Quonset Point, R.I. where he met his first wife, and mother of his children, Leona (Albert) Valdés. He served as a munitions mechanic, flight crew for Patrol Squadron VP-11 and as a rear gunner for Flight Squadron VF-72. He attended the University of New Mexico where he received his B.A. and Masters in Romance Languages. He began his career in Las Vegas as a classroom teacher and head of the Clark County Public Schools Foreign Language Department. He also served as president of the Clark County Classroom Teachers Association. In 1970 he moved his family to Tacoma, Wash. where he served as the executive director of the Tacoma Association of Classroom Teachers. In 1978 he accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, retiring in 1995 as Director of Labor Relations for his region.
Frank received several awards and fellowships during his service, education and employment. He was most proud of his National Defense Service Medal and of his leadership of successful negotiations, strikes and walkouts to secure better living wages for all teachers. In 1969 he represented the National Education Assocataion at its first World Conference on Education.
Past affiliations include membership in the Kappa Alpha fraternity, Phil Delta Kappa, BPO Elks, and Allenmore Golf Club. His hobbies included crossword puzzles, bowling, travel and golf. He was an avid baseball fan and served as an usher at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. He adored Siamese cats and collected Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. He was proud of his Hispanic heritage, his service in the Navy, his career of fighting for the underdog, and his large family, whom he deeply loved.
He will be forever loved by his family, which is deeply grateful to the staff at Florence of Seattle for the care he received while suffering a slow decline from dementia.
A memorial service will be held at noon on Monday, July 1, 2019 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 515 S 312nd St, Federal Way, Wash. at 2:30 p.m. he will be interred with Military Honors at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Wash.
Arrangements are through Bonney Watson Funeral Home in Federal Way.