August 8, 2019

GILBERT J. VALDEZ

12/13/1927 – 08/02/2019

Gilbert J. (Tony) Valdez was born Dec. 13, 1927 in Key West, Florida to Annie Pinder Valdez and Ignacio Valdez Jr. Gilbert passed peacefully from this life on Aug. 2, at Lower Key Medical Center after suffering for several years with COPD. He was a loving and devoted husband, son, brother, uncle, and especially father and grandfather to James, Ana, Alessandra and Nita Collie.

Gilbert is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Angela W. Martinez Valdez; his parents, Ignacio Valdez Jr. and Annie L. Pinder Valdez; his brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Elsie Valdez; his sister and brother-in-law Jacqueline and Ellis Foor; his brothers-in law, Kenneth Caldwell and Armand J. Lonzillo; his sister-in-law, Magnolia C. Martinez Collie; his nephews, William and Edward Kelly; numerous grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Gilbert is survived by his nephew/son and niece/daughter-in-law, James Roy Collie Jr. and Ana J. Schibeci Collie; his great-niece/granddaughter, Alessandra P. Schibeci Collie and his niece/daughter, Nita Aline Collie. He is also survived by his sisters, Netta Easterday, Dolores Lonzillo, MaryAnn Caldwell and Linda (George) Cianteo, numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins.

Gilbert always had a love for baseball and fishing and was able to enjoy doing both for most of his life. Gilbert played shortstop on some of the city’s Little League teams while growing up. He also played during his service in the Korean War, when different companies and regiments would hold games to give the soldiers recreational time away from the war. Gilbert loved to fish and when younger would frequently go out fishing with his father, brother, family and friends on the boat he built himself sometime in the 1960s.

After serving in Korea, Gilbert worked as a housepainter, cabinet maker and neon sign builder, but the rest of his life was spent working in management of grocery stores, including Margaret Ann, Table Supply, Kwik Chek, Winn-Dixie and Fausto’s Food Palace. Many Key West teenagers got their first job working for “Tony” and to this day continue to tell his family “that he was the best boss they have ever had.”

The Valdez-Collie family would like to thank Dr. Elias J. Gerth, Dr. Jerome E. Covington and the entire staff of Key West Medical Center for their long-term and loving care of Gilbert. We would also like to thank Dr. David Nyberg and the staff of 20th Century Oncology; Dr. Bruce Fariss and the staff of Lower Keys Urology; Al Waynick and the staff of Agramonte Home Care; Dr. Caner and Heather of Compassionate Care Hospice; all the doctors, nurses and staff of Lower Keys Medical Center; and Castillo and Thurston’s Key West Mortuary for their care of Gilbert over the years and especially at the end of his life. Tato, you may have been our uncle by marriage, but you are our father by choice and by love. James, Ana, Alessandra and Nita want to thank you for all the love and caring you have shown us all our lives. You taught us to enjoy your favorite pasttimes of baseball and fishing, but you have taught us so much more. You taught us how to be loving, caring, loyal, honest and hopefully honorable people you would be proud of. Tato, it is time now for you to return to your heavenly home and be with your wife, Nita; her twin sister, Nolla; Grandma and Grandpaw; and all who have passed before and who will welcome you into their loving souls.

In honor if Gilbert’s wishes, there will be no funeral services and Key West Mortuary is in charge of Gilbert’s cremation. In lieu of flowers the Valdez-Collie family ask that anyone who wishes to please donate to their charity of choice in honor of Gilbert’s memory.