September 10, 1929 ~ July 7, 2020
Born in: Kansas City, Missouri
Resided in: Pueblo, Colorado
Combined Rosary and Funeral Mass
Graveside Committal Service:
Myles Edmund Vallejo, affectionately known as “Dr. V,” passed away to Heaven on July 7, 2020 at his home in Pueblo, Colorado. Born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 10, 1929, Edmund spent the first two years of his life at St. Joseph Hospital Foundling Home in Denver, Colorado and 12 years at Mount St. Vincent Home Orphanage in Denver. He lived his high school years in his mother’s home in Walsenburg, Colorado, graduating from St. Mary High School in 1947. He spent his adult life in Pueblo, Colorado.
Edmund is survived by his wife of 61 years, Gregoria. It was love at first sight when they met at a blind dinner date arranged by Gregoria’s teacher friends. Their love created a legacy including their children Michael (JoAnn), Steven (Anita), Frances (Scott Irvine), and Andrew. He is also survived by his grandchildren Jennifer Vallejo, Michael Vallejo, Joshua Vallejo, Jamie Heinrich, Elise Irvine, Elena Irvine, and Eli Irvine. Also surviving him are his great grandchildren Ella Parsons, Chelsea Young, David Hernandez, and Charlotte Vallejo. He is also survived by his Godchildren Robin Atencio, Paul W. Diachin, Adrian Duran, Wendy Maldonado, and Donnie Vigil. Dr. Vallejo was preceded in death by his father, Mucio Vallejo, mother Frances Atencio Nelson Vallejo, his mother- and father-in-law Gregorio and Helen Huerta, his grandparents Antonio & Elisa Atencio, and Maria del Carmen Duran & Estanislado Vallejo. As Edmund was an only child, his cousins were like his siblings, and he cherished marrying into the large Huerta family, giving him numerous beloved brothers- and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews.
Edmund was a Korean War Veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy from 1948-1952. He was a trained aerial photographer, press photographer, and motion picture photographer. His last year in the Navy he was assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet Combat Camera Group, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, filming combat action in South and North Korea. He spent most of his photo assignments with the First and Fifth Marine Regiment of the First Marine Division, where he filmed on the Main Line of Resistance and forward outpost positions, often under persistent enemy fire. He also shot combat aerial photos from Navy and Marine aircraft over enemy territory in North Korea and was heavily involved in the Battles of Bunker Hill and Siberia Hill. Dr. Vallejo received several medals for his service, including the Bronze Star, Korean War Service medal, the U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon, and the Presidential Unit Citation Medal. Edmund wrote the book, The Korean War in Color – Recollections and Photos of a Combat Photographer 1952 (2008), to memorialize his life and experiences in the Navy.
After leaving the military, Edmund graduated from Adams State College of Colorado in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts Degrees in English and History/Political Science and a Lifetime Teacher’s License. He earned the “Outstanding Alumnus Award” in 1980. He also graduated from Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado) in 1958 with a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology and Guidance. He later attended Kansas State University on a doctoral fellowship, graduating in 1975 with the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree with emphasis in curriculum and instruction. He later did post-doctoral study at Teachers’ College, Columbia University in 1982.
Dr. Vallejo spent 14 years as a classroom English and Title I Reading teacher at Keating Junior High School. Starting in 1970, he became Principal at Keating Junior High School, Seton Middle School, and Risley Middle School for a five-year period. He went on to become Pueblo District 60 Associate Superintendent of Instruction for ten years, then Superintendent of District 60 for six years. The benchmark of his superintendency was reducing the dropout rate significantly, introducing Advanced Placement courses into the curriculum, and visiting every classroom in the district twice during each school year. During his penultimate year as superintendent, he went back to the classroom and taught reading at Risley Middle School.
Dr. Vallejo had two professions for many years, as owner of a photography studio from 1962-1979, taking countless portraits and weddings of local families.
One of his greatest personal accomplishments was raising, along with his wife, Gregoria, his four children to be fine, contributing citizens in their communities.
Following his retirement in 1991, Dr. V devoted his time to mentoring over 50 at-risk students and tutoring drop-outs. Seventy-five percent of these students graduated from high school or received their GED High School Equivalency Diplomas. Several went on to earn baccalaureate degrees from college. He also taught them life skills and to love the outdoors. Dr. Vallejo also supervised student teachers seeking their teaching accreditation.
Dr. Vallejo spent a great deal of his time serving his profession and community in Pueblo and Colorado. In 2003, his lifetime accomplishments were entered into the Congressional Record.
He was a devoted member of the Catholic Church and was a Parish Council member and RCIA leader at Holy Family Church. He also volunteered with the Kairos Prison Ministry.
Through the 1960s, he was elected and held the position of President of the Pueblo Federation of Teachers. Also in the early 1960s, Dr. Vallejo was elected as a Democratic Party Precinct Chairperson. In that capacity he organized thousands of Pueblo Hispanics to register to vote, a rarity in Pueblo County at the time. In the mid 1970s, Dr. Vallejo was appointed by Governor Lamm to serve on the Board of Trustees of State Colleges in Colorado, governing five Colorado Colleges. Dr. Vallejo was a life time member of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a member of the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Chamber of Commerce, which awarded him a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2006. He was inducted into the Pueblo Hall of Fame in 2007. Recently, the Latino Chamber of Commerce Foundation recognized Dr. Vallejo as a “Latino Profile in Courage,” based on his action as a combat photographer in the Korean War. Dr. Vallejo served 30 years as a director on the Rocky Mountain Council Board of the Boy Scouts of America, serving for two years as President. He was awarded its “Silver Beaver” Award and later the Boy Scouts of America awarded him its “Scouting! Vale la Pena,” [It’s Worth the Effort] Award in recognition for helping and encouraging Hispanic boys to participate in scouting. Dr. Vallejo founded and served on the Pueblo City Schools Education Foundation for 30 years and was a member of the Pueblo Kiwanis Club for 48 years. Dr. Vallejo also served over 17 years on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Historical Society.
Dr. Vallejo’s favorite past time was spending time in the Colorado mountains. As a youngster and adult, he climbed Colorado fourteeners, he spent 57 years skiing, and over 60 years backpacking and climbing Colorado mountains to fish cutthroat trout. He captured the beautiful mountains, streams and flowers of his beloved Rocky Mountains to share with all with his photography, poetry and self-published book, Colorado Landscapes (1991). His “Heaven on earth” was Lily Lake, located in the Sangre De Cristo mountains in the shadow of Mt. Blanca. He loved fishing its native trout and jokingly named a second, yet higher lake, as “Lake Vallejo.”
He also was an avid jogger for over 30 years and bowled in leagues even into his 90th year. He also enjoyed listening to classical music with his wife.
Edmund Vallejo was a man of many talents and achieved numerous successes in his life, but he is most beloved by his family for showing us what can be achieved when you work hard, even if you come from humble and difficult beginnings. He was, and will always remain, an inspiration to us all. His devotion to the Catholic faith has brought peace to him and to his family. We thank God for Edmund: a devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, and servant of the Lord.
For those who desire, donations in memory of Dr. Vallejo can be made to the Dr. Vallejo Scholarship Fund at Pueblo City Schools Education Foundation http://www.pueblocityschools.us/education-foundation.
The family wants to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Parkview Hospital, Sangre de Cristo Hospice, and Amada Senior Care.
Visitation, 4-6 p.m. Sunday, July 12, 2020, in the Montgomery & Steward Chapel. Rosary, family tribute and funeral Mass, will be live-streamed starting at 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 13, 2020, on Edmund’s obituary page at www.MontgomerySteward.com with recorded playback available on the same site by Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
When COVID-19 restrictions cease, a public memorial will be held.