Joaquin Zabala

Joaquin (Jack) Romaldo Zabala July 1, 1931 – November 16, 2020 Born July 1, 1931 to Phillip and Jesus Zabala in Upland, Ca. and passed on November 16, 2020 at Upland San Antonio Hospital. Dad was an extraordinary Husband, Father and Grandfather. He married Senovia Rodriguez on May 9, 1953, they had 65 years together until her passing in 2018. He was an 89-year resident of Upland, a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and as a child served as an altar boy. Joaquin served in the US Navy 1949-1953, was in the Korean War, served in the US Army Reserve for 16 years and retired with 20 years of military service. He was a Lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dad worked 35 years at Norton and Mira Loma Air Force bases as a mechanic on vehicles, fire engines, and the SR-71 aircraft. Dad loved telling the story of when they were getting an SR-71 ready for flight and he was smoking a cigar while they were fueling the aircraft, when suddenly an officer yelled to put that cigar out before blowing up the aircraft. The SR-71 leaked JP7 fuel on the ground, so Dad extinguished his cigar in the fuel on the ground; the officer was visibly shaken and all the mechanics had a good laugh. After retiring from Norton, Dad worked at General Dynamics Pomona for two years and finally retired to enjoy his hobbies of restoring old cars, reading and deep-sea fishing. His last project was a 1929 Ford roadster pickup. Dad was retired 31 years and he said retirement was great everyday. Joaquin always placed his family first. He loved to travel and with Mom traveled the USA, Mexico and made several trips to Europe. In 1974 Dad and Mom designed and built a new home in Upland. They enjoyed socializing with friends and playing cards. He was an avid reader averaging three to four books a month. Dad and Mom had nine children and were always teaching life lessons; do the right thing, get an education, life is not about money or the material things you own, life is about your character and how you behave toward other people. Survived by son Patrick (Susie), daughters Phyllis (Louie), Monica (Dave), Deborah, Rebecca (Eddie), Lorraine, Ivy, Juliana, Priscilla (Tom), 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Also survived by his sister Carmen Vasquez and many nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his parents, brothers Steven G Zabala in WWII, Martin Zabala, and sister Sophia Rivera.

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