Paul “Nuni” Valenzuela, a retired farm worker from Oxnard, died Friday following a lengthy illness. He was 87.
Valenzuela was born Feb. 9, 1910, in Montalvo. A lifelong resident of Ventura County, Valenzuela spent much of his adult life working on the Valentine Ranch in east Ventura, said his granddaughter, Carol Nigma of Ventura. He retired in 1980.
During World War II, he served with the National Guard.
A member of the Chumash tribe, Valenzuela passed along his wisdom of nature to his children and grandchildren, according to his grandson, Robert Valenzuela of Salt Lake City.
“He was the oldest Chumash Indian that I know of in this area. He’s the one that showed me things about the Chumash and about our ancestry here. He told us about the Channel Islands, the Sespe Creek area, little stories that only he would know,” said Valenzuela.
“I asked him one time how the people could tell the different currents in the ocean, and he said you could tell by the color of the water. The different currents were different colors,” he said.
“Later on I worked on the islands and I tried to do it. But I couldn’t tell the difference.
“He was a very positive factor in my life,” said Valenzuela.
Nigma said her grandfather tended a home garden of more than 20 types of orchids. “He loved his yard, he loved his orchids. He always was out in the yard,” she said.
When he wasn’t in the garden, Valenzuela could be found surf fishing, Nigma said.
Valenzuela is survived by his wife of 64 years, Irene; sons Albert and Martin, both of Oxnard; brother Charles of Sacramento; 17 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a son, Edward, and daughter, Pauline Ortiz.
Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday from 3 to 9 p.m. at James A. Reardon Mortuary in Oxnard. Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Santa Clara Church in Oxnard, with interment following at Santa Clara Cemetery.