Anthony Diaz Sr. was welcome to his eternal home in the early hours of September 19, 2020. Anthony was known as Tony to friends and family. He was born in Madera, Ca to Annie and Stephen Diaz who had five children together. His siblings were Augustine, Alice, Edward, and Delphina. He graduated from Madera High School and attended Fresno City College where he ran a season for the Cross Country team. He enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War and was given an Honorable Discharge. Tony was very proud of his service in the Army.
When he returned to Madera, he began dating a young woman, named Mary Louise Hernandez, who was the love of his life. Tony and Mary were married a year later at St. Joachim’s Church in Madera by Father Lupe Sanchez. Tony had many jobs and worked very hard to support his young family. He had a strong work ethic that began when he was a young boy with a paper route. Tony would continue to have paper routes off and on throughout his life, the last one being a route he helped his son with. He worked at the local winery as a clerk while also working at Hatfield’s Service station. He eventually got a job as a shipping and receiving clerk for Certainteed Corporation in Chowchilla, Ca where he worked for 28 years. When he retired from Certainteed, Tony went to work for the VA hospital in Food Service. He reported to work whenever he was on the schedule, including holidays, like Thanksgiving, when he would say, “Someone has to feed the Vets.” He retired from the VA hospital and kept busy with Grandpa and Dad duties, shuttling Grandkids to and from school and spending time with his family. He enjoyed Sunday Breakfast with family almost every Sunday after church, trips to Monterey, and visiting with extended family and drives with his wife.
Tony was an active participant in the lives of his children and community. He worked hard and sacrificed many material things so his children could have a faith-filled education at St. Joachim’s Elementary School. He was an active part of his children’s school, serving on the Parent Club. He spent many years as the Bingo caller for the school when they still had Bingo in Griffin Hall. Every year his kids were at St. Joachim’s you could find him out at the Harvest Festival working in a booth. He also raised lots of money for the school every year while taking his children all around town to sell the annual school chocolate bars. He cared deeply about the education of his children and their school. He is very proud that his two eldest Grandchildren attend Catholic Schools, one at St. Joachim in Madera and one at St. Anthony’s in Fresno.
Tony also served as President and Past-President of a service club called the The Eagles. The Eagles service club no longer exists but he enjoyed his time and the fellowship he had with members of the club. This organization was dedicated to helping the community with various needs.
Tony loved baseball and his son, so when his son joined Little League, Tony did too. First as a coach and later he would serve as President of Babe Ruth for three years. He purchased items for the Snack Shack, enlisted the help of his family and did a great job supporting the youth of Madera, while also enjoying time with his Son at the games and on the field. When there was no one else to coach a team that needed a coach, he would step up and do that too, at the same time he served as President.
Tony served his church. When his eldest daughter was beginning her confirmation preparation, she joined the 9:00AM choir and so did her Dad. Tony would spend the next 34 years as part of the 9:00AM and later 9:30AM choir at St. Joachim Church. He would also read the Psalms nearly every Sunday at the mass. His family loved supporting him and attending mass with him every Sunday and were all very proud of their Dad. Tony also served on the Parish Council for the church for two years.
Tony was preceded in death by his daughter, Tracy Diaz and his granddaughter, Lauren Rose Penland. Tony is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Mary Diaz, his daughter Debbie and her husband Jason Penland, his daughter Gracie and her husband Michael Flud, his son Anthony Jr. and his wife Tyler Diaz. He is also survived by his six grandchildren, Laina, Bella, Peter, Abby, Samuel and Baby Diaz due in April 2021.
Tony’s loving family will miss his earthly presence, but they are happy for his reunion in heaven with those he loved and look forward to the day they join him.
Recitation of the Rosary will be held on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 9:30 am in the courtyard at St. Joachim Catholic Church in Madera. Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 1, 2020 from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm at Jay Chapel in Madera. A Private Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, and the family invites everyone to join them for the Graveside Service at Calvary Cemetery on Friday, October 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm.
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