Raymond Verduzco had patience, integrity and a great smile, his wife Connie Verduzco said.
“He had great love for his children and grandchildren,” she said.
Verduzco, 78, of Naples, Fla., and formerly of Beverly Shores, sometimes worked three jobs at one time.
Married 58 years, the couple met in third grade.
“He had a story that when we were both seven, he saw me walk into a local bakery in Indiana Harbor and said, ‘There is the girl I am going to marry,’” Connie Verduzco said. “When I was 13, my mom had a grocery store. He would stock shelves hanging around just to see me.”
That is when their relationship blossomed with simple dates, going to the movies or walking for frozen custard.
“We would make plans about when we would get married and have a house with a white picket fence,” she said.
The Verduzcos had seven children and 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Verduzco, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, retired at age 48 after working 30 years at LTV Steel to take care of three grandchildren in Lakes of the Four Seasons, where he coached baseball and basketball. He later became an electrician at Purdue University Calumet, retiring after 12 years.
Verduzco started boxing at a Los Angeles gym while working as an L.A. Times copy boy at age 18, meeting George Raft and Burt Lancaster at ringside.
One of their daughters and a granddaughter are writing a book about their adventures with Verduzco and his “grandpa-isms,” his wife said.
Verduzco, who was given extra years after receiving a left ventricle assist device in 2010 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was his wife’s financial adviser.
“He was very intuitive and had good common sense and he was very handsome,” she said.