Joe C. Vialpando


The spirit of Joe C. Vialpando returned to God on March 6, 2021, after complications with a hospital visit for pneumonia. Better known as Clorindo, he was born in Chama, Colo. in 1929 to Ricardo and Matiana Vialpando. The only surviving son in a family of eight sisters, he is preceded in death by his parents, and sisters Rebecca, Soriada, Marianita, Edicia, Cordelia, Orlinda and youngest sister Dorothy.

He leaves behind his beloved wife of sixty-six years, Celsa, currently residing in Aurora, Colo., two daughters; Michelle, married to Kevin Fox, residing in Colorado Springs and Nicole Sonderfan of Missouri, his sister; Pauline Lopez, residing in Espanola, NM, and his grandchildren; Kris (Erica), Josh (Heather), Josiah, Hannah (Stephen), Victoria (Adan), and twenty-one great-grandchildren.

A 1947 graduate of Mercy High School, Clorindo received a full scholarship to Adams State College. While working on his teaching degree, Clorindo was given the opportunity to do his first student teaching in the town he grew up in. That same year he was drafted into the Korean War.

The winter of ‘50 became a surreal experience never forgotten. Fighting as an infantryman on the front lines he was soon field promoted to Staff Sergeant. In later years, he proudly wore his Korean War Veteran cap and jacket, often retelling his memories of those trying times.

Following his honorable discharge, Clorindo returned to college where he met his one true love. After marrying in April of ‘54, he and Celsa finished school with degrees in education. Later that fall, Clorindo became the principal/8th-grade teacher in Chama.

Moving to Aurora the following summer, they both became successful elementary educators for over thirty years each. Clorindo was also an elementary principal for seventeen years as well as a teacher for both the Aurora Public Schools and Adams County District 14. He headed bilingual classes for students as well as adults. Teaching was a life-long love, he didn’t need a classroom, just a willing listener.

A shepherd in his younger years, a cattleman as an adult on weekends and in the summer, work never ended as is common for his generation of ranchers. Every season brought its challenges and joys. Clorindo loved working the land producing good alfalfa and raising “high-altitude beef,” he was proud to take to auction.

He was an accomplished harmonicist and happily played Las Mananitas for family and friends’ birthdays, enjoyed playing piano by ear and whistling as he worked. His favorite music came from the instruments and vocals of Los Mariachis.

With a quick wit and generous spirit, Clorindo was always willing to lend a hand to anyone in need or to pass on a helpful skill to a fellow rancher or stranger.

Family was a top priority, encouraging all the youth to think about their future, get a good education and challenged them to become a benefit to their community. Clorindo leaves behind many of these nephews and nieces, of whom many benefited from his encouragement. He always felt blessed to be a part of his large family.

We will miss his wisdom, knowledge, loving faithfulness and lively stories. 

A Mass/Memorial Service will be held on May 29, 2021, in the Centennial School gym at 2:00 pm. Reception following.

A private family burial will be held at a later time.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Joseph C. Vialpando scholarship fund for the further education of graduates from Centennial High School. Make checks payable to the Joseph C. Vialpando Trust, mail to 6445 Flintridge Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918. Donations can also be made through Venmo under Vialpando-Ganas-Scholarship.

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