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Charles Deaguero Florez Jr.

Born: Sun., Jun. 8, 1947
Died: Tue., Jan. 15, 2019


Recitation of the Rosary

6:00 PM Sun., Jan. 20, 2019
Location: Haskell Funeral Home


Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 AM Mon., Jan. 21, 2019
Location: St. Joseph's Catholic Church


Interment following funeral service

Mon., Jan. 21, 2019
Location: Lovell Cemetery


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Charles Deaguero Florez,  jr., “Charlie” born June 8, 1947 in Lovell to Charles Deaguero Florez and Guadalupe Rodriguez Florez, was called home on the night of January 15, 2019, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, MT. Charlie was born in an era where there was great ignorance in valuing all people and since he was born with Down’s Syndrome, the doctor that delivered him told his mother to institutionalize him and forget she had him.  Thankfully, she did not listen or many of us here would have missed out on a beautiful gift.  Charlie went “Code Blue”’ at birth as well and heart issues are common with Down’s Syndrome. But the strong little guy survived it and went on to live an amazing 71 and ½ years, which is about double the life expectancy of an individual with Down’s born in his era.  

Charlie joined an older sister, Reyes Juanita Florez Martinez, and was then followed by three more brothers.  Through his father, he gained many additional siblings. He had the happiest heart and personality and his smile brightened any place he was.  His only dream was to go to school (“cool” as he always called it).  He wanted to learn how to read and write.  But, he was born before Public Law94-142, which allowed children with special needs like his into the public school system, so that dream was not fulfilled. ). His mother, seeing his strong desire to be educated did finally relent and try sending him to the sheltered workshop residential program in Thermopolis, but after only two weeks, he was too lonely and homesick so she brought him home and taught him what she could.  When Charlie was only 10 years old, his mother was killed in a car accident and so he was raised by his grandparents, Secundino and Simona Rodriguez.  After their passing, his sister, Juanita and her husband, Jesse Martinez welcomed him into their home, where he lived for 26 years.  Right to the end, Jesse, was one of his favorite people.

Nine years ago, Charlie went to live at New Horizons Care Center because he was showing signs of dementia. Through his time as a resident there, his friendship circle grew larger, quickly endearing so many wonderful employees to his heart. They always looked out for him, cared about him, and asked for him during his recent hospital stays in the last few months.  Even in his two weeks in the ICU at St. Vincent’s, members of his care team would come check on him even when they weren’t assigned to him because they all fell in love with his smile.  Two days before his passing, Dr. Tevlin, who had been there with us through most of it, came in to give him a special hug and kind words.  He touched her heart and the hearts of all who knew him.  In the words of Dr. Seuss, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”. This is so true in Charlie.  What that doctor that delivered him didn’t see is what so many more do see in the gift that he was and will always be to those of us that loved him the most.  Charlie did not have an education or important title.  He had so much more.  He had gifts which he shared freely in his teaching so many how to be accepting, and kind and generous.  One chaplain who came in to pray with us in his final days said, “Father, you made Charlie with gifts that he shared with the rest of us because we were not made with these same gifts. He has taught so many and extended his gifts.”

He loved books. He would curl the corners of books, magazines, catalogs (he especially loved the Christmas Catalogs for Sears and Montgomery Ward and if you could not find them, they were likely under his bed with his wish list items dog-eared. He loved to shuffle decks of cards, flip his hanky, sing and talk to himself, tell jokes, tickle you, and color.

Charlie loved to listen to music; lots and lots of music.  He especially loved his Mexican music and country western music and his sister, Juanita was responsible for his strong love of Alan Jackson. And he loved to play his music loud.  When he was young, he had a stereo with lights that pulsed to the beat and the louder, the better. He was always very social, and many people remember his toodling all over town on his bicycle, stopping to engage in friendly conversations along the way.  His greatest love and pride were his title of “uncle”.  He would always proudly point to his nieces and nephews, and tell those around him, “I’m the uncle, yeah, me, I’m the uncle”.

In one of his books, author Richard Paul Evans wrote that death is the punctuation at the end of the sentence.  It’s up to us to decide what kind of punctuation it will be - a period or an exclamation point.  For Charlie, it is definitely an exclamation point! Even in the courageous battle he fought to the end, his life was definitely punctuated in an exclamation point – originally called the “note of admiration”, are punctuation marks are still used to express excitement and any other strong emotion.  Charlie had a way to bring out the strongest emotions in those who knew and loved him.  He emphasized to many how to value every person and all persons, because a person really is a person, “no matter how small”.  As Dr. Tevlin said in her kind words of comfort: ‘Charlie will always be with you and he will live on in what you do because of him and how much you all love him, and he loves you”. Father Glenn Whewell reminds us that every person is precious, unique and unrepeatable.  Charlie was indeed all of these things.

Charlie was preceded in death by his grandparents who raised him, Secundino and Simona Rodriguez, his mother, Guadalupe Rodriguez Florez and father, Charles D Florez, his sister, Juanita Martinez; an infant sister, Sylvia, another sister Jenny Lou Flores that he never knew; brothers Felix Padilla, Billy Flores, and David Joe Flores as well as numerous extended relatives.

He is survived by Jesse Martinez, his brother-in-law and caregiver; Jennifer D’Alessandro, his niece and guardian along with her husband, Patrick, kids Rob O, Alex, Juanita, Thallen, Gianreye, and Christiano; nephews Matthew Martinez, sr., Matthew and Nicanor Martinez. Siblings Chencha Moreno, Gerald Frank Florez (Bernadette), Ernest Florez (Marlene), Gloria Haggerty, Delores Marcus (Mike), Charles Flores, Robert Flores, Linda Jaurequi, Charlotte Hutchinson (Mike), Marlene Ricks, Tresa Moralez (Ofrendo), and Albert Castillon; cousins, relatives, and numerous more nieces and nephews, too countless to list.

A Vigil Mass, including a Rosary, will be said Sunday evening, January 20th at 6 pm at Haskells’ Funeral Home.  Funeral Mass celebrating his life will be held on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at St Joseph Catholic Church in Lovell. Internment will be at the Lovell Cemetery.  Haskell’s Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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Jerry and Sandy Clark
   Posted Fri January 18, 2019
Charlie was a sweet man. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

Linda Eggeman
   Posted Sun January 20, 2019
Jennifer, my deepest sympathy to you and all of your family. What love and kindness you all gave to your dear uncle.

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