Stephen Zachary Valdes passed away May 3, 2023, of a heart attack in Jacksonville, FL. He was 65.
Steve was born in El Paso, TX, the oldest child of 4 siblings. As a youth, his natural curiosity fostered lifelong passions including AV electronics, listening to, and creating music, and practical handyman work.
Like his father, he enlisted in the Armed Forces serving as an Aviation Electronics Technician in the US Navy on the supercarrier USS Constellation. After completing his service, he met and married his community college sweetheart while both served as Student Association Vice Presidents. Later he attended UTEP (the University of Texas at El Paso) where he became Lead Drummer of the school band and earned his Bachelor's degree in Business.
He went on to have a successful career as a Business Professional specializing in sales, leadership, and education, and winning numerous peer-given industry awards. A true extrovert and "people person", he excelled in connections and relationships, and became the President of his regional Toastmasters—an organization that specializes in developing public-speaking skills. He especially took pride in mentoring others to help them achieve their career goals.
Always a devoted family man, he retired young enough to spend more time with his loved ones and enjoy the personal paradise he had created for himself at home, though he continued to consult and advise his former coworkers and supervisors. His final months were filled with joy, happiness, and adventure—reaping the benefits of his life's work.
Never idle, Steve kept busy, remained productive and took pride in accomplishing any task before him; he was never afraid to take on projects he was unfamiliar with. He was loyal, funny, exceptionally witty, a great listener, an avid talker and consummate salesman. He was structured but fun-loving, and passionate about movies, fitness, healthy living and creating the perfect old fashioned cocktail. He loved traveling, researching family genealogy and making cookies for his son. He was always the first man on the dance floor and would drop everything at a moment’s notice to help one of his children in need.
If ever asked how he was doing, he would instantly quip:
"Any better and you couldn't stand it.”
He is survived by his wife Sandra, his children: Jennifer, Tanya, David, Stephanie and James, his grandchildren Halen and Wesley, and his siblings Michael, Monica and Christopher. He is preceded in death by his parents Raul and Joy.
He was deeply loved and will be forever missed, but his influence and wisdom will endure.
Steve has been cremated and continues to reside with our mother Sandra, whom he loved more than life itself. In lieu of flowers, the family requests support, or a charitable donation to a Veterans organization.