Mechanic 03

David Joseph Cordiero

September 15, 1946 ~ May 3, 2022 (age 75)

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David Joseph Cordiero, better known to his wife as “Old Man”, his daughters as “Dad”, and his grandbabies as “Papa” left for Heaven on May 3, 2022.  He was 75 years old, and 75 years wasn’t nearly long enough.  He was greeted in heaven by his family that went before him, his dad Joe, mom Ethel, and sisters Theresa and Barbara.  It was unexpected, but he went the way he wanted, falling asleep in his own bed next to the love of his life.  

He was born on September 15, 1946, in Tulare California, the third of 5 children and only boy.  His sisters are Maria “Lana”, Theresa, Sister JoAnn, and Barbara.  He grew up working on his family’s farm alongside his father and mother.  He graduated from Tulare Western in 1964 and was part of the Future Farmers of America (FFA).  During his time in the FFA, he served as an Officer, was awarded FFA State Farmer in 1963, won the individual and team Gold Medals in National Poultry Judging in Kansas City in 1963, and the Silver (individual) and Gold (team) Medal in National Meat Judging in Kansas City, with his best buddies Jim Bentley and John Pires in 1964.

On July 15, 1965, at just 18 years old, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and months later was honorably discharged after his father became ill, leaving no one to take care of the family farm.  Once his father recovered, he enlisted in the United States Army, serving an extended tour in the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1970.  He was a helicopter crew chief on a Huey Medevac, as part of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).  He was honorably discharged from Fort Hood, Texas. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and Air Medal with “V” Device and 2 Oak Leaf Clusters for Heroism. He was proud to serve his Country alongside his brothers. 

Thankfully, God brought him home so he could marry his wife Irene (née Grissom). They met at College of the Sequoias where he received his AA Degree in 1972. Their first date was the Tulare County Fair in September 1970 and they were married on January 15, 1971, recently celebrating their 51st anniversary. They have 4 daughters, his diamonds.  Each with their own families, Monica & Darrin Carver, Jessica & Tim Martinez, Danielle & D.J. Dowdy, and Emily & Ben Bird.  Their girls gave them nine grandbabies, Chase and Brooke Carver, Bella and Maya Martinez, Riley, Conner and Aiden Dowdy, and Oscar and Calvin Bird.  There was nothing he wouldn’t do for them. 

He went on to work for Olam (formerly Gilroy Foods) for 34 years as a Mechanic and Shop Steward, spending half the year harvesting garlic and onions from Tule Lake down to the Imperial Valley. Having grown up working on his family farm, he loved using his hands and working in the dirt for a living. He took pride in showing up early to warm up the equipment and prepare before anyone else arrived.  He taught his girls the importance of an honest days work.

After retiring in 2015, he kept himself busy around the house.  He built a garden in the backyard, rotating crops, and growing everything from garlic to corn and zucchini.  Last year, he bought an old Plymouth Belvedere to tear apart and rebuild, which was always a dream of his.  He said that when he died, he wanted to have at least 15 projects going; the Plymouth counted for all 15!  His neighbors said they knew if the garage door was up, it meant the shop was open and he was accepting visitors.  He earned and deserved these past 7 years spending his days doing what he pleased. 

He hated fast food mascots like Jack and the King, cheating zebras, and occasionally Luke (the dog). He loved cruising in the country, spoiling his wife, driving his grandbabies to school, reading the Bible, naps, his Dodge truck, hot rods, gardening, garlic, rooting against his sons-in-law teams, big fires, Chapstick, Gorilla Glue, Duct Tape, crunchy peanut butter, Mash, and Perry the Platypus.  He wasn’t perfect, but he was so good, and he was all ours.  He is missed fiercely and all our pain, we offer up to him as pure LOVE.  Until we’re together again, we’ll do our best to make him proud and honor him by telling those in our lives they are loved and cherished. 

To all our family and friends, we thank you for the love and support you’ve shown us and invite you to join us in prayer and celebration of a life well lived.  A Rosary will be held on Sunday, May 15th at 6:00 pm at Smith Family Chapel, 505 E. Pine St., Exeter Ca.  Mass will be Monday, May 16th at 9:00 am at Saint Mary’s Church, 608 N. Church St., Visalia Ca, and a small gathering at the family’s home will follow.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Legion Post 785, P.O. Box 854, Visalia Ca 93279.  And our deepest gratitude to Post 785 for providing the flag that was laid over our Veteran after he was called home. 

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