Yesterday my dad called me at work to let me know that my mom's brother Alfredo had passed away. He was a character, and lovely man. Follows is his obituary from the Los Angeles Times. I'm thinking a lot about my cousins and my mom today, and remembering what an interesting and creative man "Uncle Fred" was. I'm proud to be his niece.
The picture at the bottom is not from the LA Times; it's one of the many portraits of him that his partner Helen Sheats painted. You can see her artwork here.
August 5, 1930 - May 10, 2010
A true jazzman in every sense of the word and a passionate patron of the arts, Alfredo Valentino finished his transition onto his next great journey on May 10, 2010 in Aptos, California, surrounded by his devoted loved ones. He is preceded by his wife of 17 years, Neddi Valentino, who passed in 1970, Helen Sheats, his subsequent partner who passed in 1999, and his oldest daughter, Denise Valentino-Hibbitt, who passed in 2004. He is survived by four siblings: Alvaro Valentino, Pedro Valentino, Maria Kelly, and Henriquetta Casarez; as well as his seven children: Christina Valentino Houlemard, Nicole Valentino, Miles Valentino, Sabott Ali, Dominga Valentino, Allegra Valentino, and Josette Valentino. He had fifteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Alfredo Valentino was born in Venice, California and resided in California for most of his life. As a young man, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving his country in the Korean War, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. Soon after, he met and married Neddi Mitchell, and the two became devoted "children of the 60s". They embraced a philosophy and lifestyle of love, creativity, eccentricity, and social change, and were passionate artists, activists, and advocates for the marginalized. Always learning, growing, and traveling throughout the world, Alfredo grew into the very embodiment of the "self-actualized" man, and as a loving and nurturing patriarch, shared his values with his children, friends and new acquaintances, many of whom make up his large extended family.
He lived a full and truly unequaled life; one that far exceeds the constraint of words. He will be dearly missed and always remembered fondly, and his true legacy is the everlasting love and devotion of his children and his commitment to family.
At Alfredo's request, funeral services will not be held. In lieu of flowers or condolence gifts, the family asks that donations be made to the Tony Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Santa Cruz Community Foundation, or to Hospice of Santa Cruz County.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 11, 2010