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Joseph Anthony Salazar ’55 was born on November 8, 1933, and died on January 1, 2013. Joe “Pepi” Salazar was a really wonderful man and his life was a fulfillment of everything that is right about the American Dream. The son of Mexican immigrants, he grew up in Rio Vista and Antioch, making lifelong friends – and a little mischief – along the way. After graduating from Antioch High, he attended Santa Clara University where he graduated in 1955. Shortly thereafter, he married Dolores Ashlock, his sweetheart from nearby Mt. Diablo High. He enlisted in the Army, and the newlyweds were reassigned to Georgia where they started their family.
After Joe was honorably discharged, the Salazars (now with daughter Nancy) returned west where Joe started working for Union Oil. After a few years in Nevada and Northern California, the Salazars moved to Stockton (with second daughter Suzanne) where Joe started a thirty year career as a salesman for Allstate Insurance. With the addition of his son Joe Jr., his family was complete and the game was on. Family events included water skiing, fishing and hunting in the Delta, camping in the mountains, weekend golfing, inevitable school and church functions, and local athletics.
Joe’s favorite place on earth was wherever his friends or family were gathering. Sometimes that place was the 1st tee, sometimes the 19th, other times around the family dinner table. It wasn’t the location, it was the people around him. His life was guided by a fundamental belief in the inherent dignity of the individual person regardless of one’s station in life. One of his favorite authors was Leo Buscaglia who espoused a philosophy of loving those around you and by giving them a hug. Joe was a great hugger because his hugs were real. That was one of his many gifts, he loved others and especially loved to help those who were disadvantaged. He contributed hundreds of hours annually to dozens of charitable groups over the years. Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis, Special Olympics, St. Mary’s Interfaith, Disabled American Veterans, SIRS Group #87, and Wounded Warriors are only a few of the many groups he helped through his volunteered time. His wealth in life was his relationship with family and friends as well as those who benefited by his volunteer work. He did right by his family, his friends, and his community.
Later in life Joe and Dolores took on another name, one they wore with pride…Gramma and Grandpa to Holly, Laurel, Annie, Joey, Lucca and Lucianna. With the same energy and love they put forth raising their children, they did for their grandchildren: and those precious grandkids are all the better for it.
And did we mention he loved to talk? And how! And yet, he was an even better listener. He wanted to know what you were doing, what your friends were doing and what your children were up to. He loved to hear about others’ successes, and always encouraged his children and grandchildren to create a vision and then make it happen. Whether husband, father, grandfather or friend, Joe was also your fan.
We really miss him.
Joe is survived by Dolores, his wife of 58 years. Additionally, he is survived by his children, Nancy Weaver (husband Scott) of Denver, Suzanne DelZotto (husband Tom) of Gold River, Joe Salazar Jr.(wife Tori) of Woodbridge, and grandchildren Holly and Laurel Weaver, Annie DelZotto, Joey Salazar III, Lucca, and Luciana Salazar. Further he is survived by brother Ray ’54 and Joan Salazar of Santa Clara, and many nieces and nephews.