Jimmie Larry Diaz, 71, passed away at CRMC on Feb. 8, 2021.
He was born in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 11, 1949, to Carmen and Jimmie Diaz.
The first of eight children, he was becoming the macho boy when his parents moved for work to Merced in 1964. He continued eighth grade in Merced and graduated from Merced High School. A lady in Merced got him into church with her where he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior in 1965, carrying and reading his bible in school from then on.
He met Donna Schlessinger in 1966, whom he married on Aug. 16, 1969. He was drafted right after his graduation in 1968. He took his basic training at the most beautiful army base in the United States of America, Fort Ord, Calif. That was followed by airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., as part of the 101st Airborne Division (The Screaming Eagles). He was sent home where he spent one day with Donna, his wife, before going to where he was assigned, Fort Lewis Wash.
Instead of being stationed there, though, he was shipped out to Vietnam. He was in Vietnam where all the agent orange was sprayed, and because of which Jimmie had lasting health problems from being exposed to that chemical. He served in the U.S. Army from November 1969 until his honorable discharge on Nov. 1 of 1970.
He returned to Merced where he lived and started his family with his first-born son in May 1971 at 5-½ months (a preemie of 2 pounds, 13 ounces). His newborn son, Larry, was the first heli-flighted person from Merced Community Hospital, where they had to use a parking area lighted by car headlights for the helicopter to land and take off for Stanford University.
Almost two years later in April 1973, he had his second son and then moved to Mariposa in June 1973 to be caretaker for his in-laws, Kenneth and Nadine Schlessinger’s, property at Briceburg, where the population became 5-½ by 1982. Kenneth and Nadine sold that property in 1984 and son number three was born Jan. 18, 1985, as the first baby of that year by six minutes.
Jimmie was a part-time custodian for various Mariposa County Unified Schools for 38 years from 1974-2012. In 2012 he was retired by the school district. In 2015 he was able to purchase a home with 11 acres.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jimmie and Carmen Diaz; his inlaws, Kenneth and Nadine Schlessinger; a sister, Mary Helen Diaz; and a brother, Henery Diaz.
He is survived by the love of his life and one and only wife of 51-½ years Donna Diaz; sons Larry, Jeromey and Jason; granddaughters, Elizabeth Ann, Sequoia and Elizabeth; grandsons Preston, Zach, Isaiah, Benjamin and Gerald.
Jason and Catherine’s daughter, Elizabeth Laing, is the closest to a daughter that he got, having a chance to raise her for a good part of her first three years. Jimmie loved to spoil her, and he never told her no until she was six years old when she wanted to ride on his shoulders while he was working, and the rules disallowed it. That hurt him to tell her no. Right after Rite Aid came into Mariposa, he would play hide and seek with her until Jason caught her running the aisles unsupervised then Jimmie was told that he could no longer do that in the store. Jimmie would track her by the padding of her footsteps.
A celebration of life memorial will be held at the Mariposa County Park amphitheater in Mariposa on June 19, 2021, at 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend.