Octavian Arthur “Art” Valdez, 69 of Lee’s Summit, Missouri passed away on Monday, March 7th, 2022.
Art was born on November 13, 1952, in Tucson, Arizona the son of Art Valdez and Emma (Vigil) Valdez. Art’s father was in the Air Force and his family spent time in Arizona, New Mexico, Spain, Missouri, and Colorado. Art went to high school in Knob Noster, Missouri and competed in baseball, basketball, and football. After graduating from Knob Noster High School, he attended State Fair Community College in Sedalia, MO where he was a starting pitcher on the baseball team and threw a no-hitter on May 1st, 1971.
Art joined the Air Force, in January 1972 and was stationed on Castle Air Force Base, Atwater, CA. He married Cheryl Neitzert of Knob Noster, MO in 1973 and their son Jason Valdez was born in 1974. In 1975, the Air Force relocated Art and his family to Whiteman Air Force Base, Knob Noster, MO. While stationed at Whiteman in 1975, his daughter Dr. Kelli Valdez was born. In 1976, the Air Force relocated Art and his family to Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, NH. While stationed at Pease AFB, Art attended the University of New Hampshire and completed his associates degree. Art and Cheryl separated in 1979.
Art received an honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1981, and moved to Warrensburg, MO to attend Central Missouri State University. While he was in Warrensburg, he continued to work on Whiteman Air Force Base and played on a competitive softball team. Art graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Missouri State University in May 1983.
After graduation, Art moved to Raytown, MO. He married Darsi Fairchild of Clinton, MO in 1984 and their son Matthew Valdez was born in 1989. They relocated to Greenwood, MO in 1994 and Art coached Matt to many youth sports championships. Art and Darsi separated in 2000 and he moved to Lee’s Summit, MO.
Art began dating his fiancé Susie Delich in 2007. They met as coworkers at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, and lived together in Lee’s Summit, MO until the time of his passing. Over the last 10 years of his life, Art helped the homeless in his local community and often shared their home with them. Art and Susie provided room, board, transportation, and job interview coaching to people as they tried to get back on their feet.
Art had a passion for many things in life, including coaching, camping, fishing, baseball, and music. He attended church at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Art wanted to be cremated and asked that his ashes be scattered across the water in Roaring River State Park.
Survivors include his fiancé, Susie Delich of Lee’s Summit, MO; three children: Jason (Lacey) Valdez of Weatherby Lake, MO, Kelli Valdez of Kansas City, MO, and Matthew Valdez of Raytown, MO; Grandchildren: Hunter and Jackson Valdez of Weatherby Lake, MO; and siblings: Loretta (Carlos) Negrete of Longmont, CO, Duvie (Gary) Martinez of Pueblo, CO, David Valdez, of Denver, CO, and Ernie (Paula) Valdez of Longmont, CO. He was preceded in death by his parents: Art Valdez and Emma Valdez; and two sisters, Linda Valdez and Christina Pineda.
Burial Services will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 15th at the Leavenworth National Cemetery with full military honors. Following the burial, there will be a celebration of life at 5pm in the VFW of Lee’s Summit, MO.