Former Ignacio resident Antonio Jose Velasquez died Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Syracuse, Utah, where he lived, of a disease that was never fully diagnosed, his family said. He was 60.
Mr. Velasquez was born to Dan and Della Vasquez on Sept. 7, 1952, in Ignacio. He was known as Antonio to his family, Tony to his friends and T.J. by his loved ones.
Growing up in Ignacio, Mr. Velasquez developed a love of the outdoors at an early age. He spent many hours in the forests surrounding La Plata County, his family said. He enjoyed outings with his family that always were surrounded by his beloved mountains.
Mr. Velasquez left home and joined the U.S. Navy, where he spent a dedicated 20-year career as a ship fitter by trade and a hull technician by heart. He spent his career working as a welder on the Navy’s nuclear power plants and submarines. At his retirement, he held the rank of hull maintenance technician chief petty officer.
The second chapter of Mr. Velasquez’s life began when he found his beloved soulmate, Robin, who was also in the Navy at the time, his family said. They married in 1992. During their travels together, Mr. Velasquez discovered more lifelong friends while tackling journeys side-by-side.
Mrs. Velasquez was reassigned to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah. Mr. Velasquez, already out of the Navy, worked as a civilian aircraft mechanic and teacher at Hill until he was stricken with the undiagnosed disease.
After Mrs. Velasquez retired from the Navy, the couple decided to remain in Utah, and Mr. Velasquez became an active grandfather and companion.
Mr. Velasquez was preceded in death by an infant grandson, Tony Ray Hartey Jr.
He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Robin Ann Velasquez of Syracuse, Utah; daughters, Daniella Hamby, Maria DuVall, Kat Sparrow and Heather Newman; brothers Arnold Velasquez, Mike Velasquez, Joe Velasquez and Jim Velasquez; sisters Cecilia Robbins and Vida Brown; and eight grandchildren.
A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. today, Dec. 18, 2012, at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, 15449 Colorado Highway 172 in Ignacio. A funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, also at St. Ignatius. The Rev. Douglas Hunt will officiate. Burial will occur at Ignacio West Cemetery.
Donations can be made to Disabled American Veterans.