Joe D. Coelho passed away on Monday, May 22, 2017, surrounded by his family at home, at the age of 80. Joe was born in Riverdale, CA, to Joe C. Coelho and Ida Coelho, who were both Portuguese Americans. As a child, Joe D. and his parents worked at various dairies throughout the Central Valley. Joe D., at the age of 15, left his Hanford, CA school and began working full time milking cows, and working on neighboring farms to help support himself, and his family.
In October of 1953, Joe D. met his future wife, Virginia DeBrum, when she was queen of the Portuguese celebration in Fresno, CA. They were married on September 2, 1956. During this time Joe D. continued as a relief milker, and began working on his father-in-law's small dairy and farm. Soon, Joe D. was able to rent and then purchase some farmland of his own, and began to grow cotton to supplement his income.
In 1957, their first son Rick was born, and in 1959, a second son, Ron, joined the family. To house his growing family, Joe D. and his wife built a new home and moved to their existing dairy on West Avenue. In 1970, Joe D. purchased his father-in-law’s, 80 acres of land and 100 cow dairy facility which originally began operation in 1937. Over time, Joe D. grew the facility increasing the herd to 600 milking cows and making many improvements, and updates that can be seen today.
When his two sons became old enough to help with the dairy and farmland, Joe D, Virginia, and their sons, with a lot of hard work, developed a partnership. Together, the partnership has become a successful operation totaling 1200 head of cows and heifers, and 340 acres of farmland growing alfalfa, corn, winter forage, and almonds as well as cotton and onions for a period of time.
Joe D. was active in several organizations. He was an active member and board member of the CPDES Portuguese Club and Hall for over 50 years. He was one of the original board members who planned, built, and secured funding for the CPDES Hall in its current location in Easton, CA. He was also a member of the former Danish Creamery Association, California Dairies, Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Fresno County Farm Bureau, and several other dairy organizations.
He won many Quality Bonus Milk Awards throughout the years and many Fresno Fair blue ribbons and trophies for quality milk. Joe D. also supported the FFA, 4-H, Fresno Fair Livestock Auction, and Exhibitions alongside his grandsons, Christian, Trevor, and Andrew.
Joe D. enjoyed cooking and barbequing for the Portuguese Fraternal organizations, and was known for his Portuguese Sopas which he began cooking in 1959 and served as head chef beginning in 1980. He helped barbeque for many local community organizations, including the Fresno Livestock annual appreciation lunch.
In his free time Joe D. enjoyed a good card game at the casinos, daily visits to the auction yard, L&D Country Kitchen, getting coffee at K & C Donuts shop to visit with all his dear friends, and his special Sunday morning breakfast at Brooks Ranch. Joe D. also enjoyed watching Westerns, NASCAR races, and football games especially, if his Kansas City Chiefs were playing. Joe D. and his wife enjoyed traveling and spending as much time as they could at their family vacation home in Morro Bay, CA.
Sharing 61 years of marriage with his wife Virginia along with raising their two sons was the best part of his life. He was very proud of his two sons, Rick and Ron, and daughter-in-law Kathy. “Vuvu’s” pride and joy; his three grandsons, Christian, Trevor, and Andrew, who he loved and adored so very much, his face would light up at the mention of them.
Proceeded in death by his parents, Joe C. and Ida Coelho; and his beloved grandson, Trevor Joseph Coelho; Joe D. is survived by his wife Virginia; son, Rick Coelho; son, Ronald Coelho and his wife Kathy; grandsons, Christian and Andrew Coelho; his sister, Dolores Rocha; nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great grandnieces and grandnephews.
Visitation will be held at St. Mary Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church, 4636 W. Dakota Avenue, Fresno, CA 93722, on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a Recitation of the Holy Rosary at 7:00 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary Queen of the Apostles Catholic Church on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. followed by interment at Washington Colony Cemetery in Easton, CA.
Remembrances may be made to the C.P.D.E.S. Hall, 172 W. Jefferson Avenue, Fresno, CA 93706.