Joe Vidrio passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. He was born on Feb. 3, 1934 to Eligio and Matiana Rubio Vidrio in Paradise Hills, Calif. He had four brothers and one sister. Joe grew up on a small farm, in what is now the heart of an urban setting. He enjoyed the sounds and smells of their small dairy, along with chickens, goats, and pigs. Joe would frequent the local YMCA, where his passion for athletics began. Joe’s pastime for fishing began on the shores of Lake Otay, which was a bike ride away from his home. World War II brought a challenging time to all, and that included the Vidrios. Three of Joe’s siblings served in both the European and Pacific theaters. After the Allied victory in WWII, the Vidrios were ready for a change.

Joe Vidrio

Joe moved to Lindsay, Calif., with his family in 1948 at age 14. He played baseball and football, while attending Lindsay High School. His parents owned and operated El Charito Cafe and tortilla factory in Lindsay, where he worked growing up. They also owned the pool hall and restaurant La Hacienda in Visalia, Calif.

Joe married Tillie Borbon in 1953 and began a family of six shortly after. Tillie was a longtime employee of Strathmore High School. Each of their six children attended Strathmore High School and seven of their grandchildren attended Strathmore High School.

Joe and Tillie moved to Strathmore, Calif., in 1961 as their family grew. Joe worked for multiple chemical companies over the years including: Standard Oil, Chevron Chemical, Southern Valley Chemical, SKH, and Monterey Chemical, before retiring. He developed a rapport with his customers that developed into longterm friendships. Those friendships extended to golf outings, hunting/fishing trips, and long conversations in his office, while they sat on his couch. Joe also worked for the California Department of Fish and Game on weekends for a period of time.

For Joe, community service was a part of life and a major part at that. He was involved with Lindsay’s Orange Blossom Festival in his younger years and became an active member in Lindsay’s Lions Club, including representing the Club in regional and international meetings.

Joe’s enthusiasm for sports did not end in High School. He organized and played fast pitch softball for multiple years and took up the game of golf. He joined the local Porterville Chapter of the Mexican American Golf Association in 1968 and was still an active member until just a few years ago, participating in monthly chapter tournaments, regional matches, and statewide championships. He served the local chapter as tournament chairman and president on multiple occasions.

With the help of Steve Flowers, Joe Vidrio officially became Coach Vidrio when they started Strathmore High’s first golf team in 1993. He had the privilege of coaching two of his grandsons, Richie and Kuyler on the SHS golf team. Joe recruited his brother Tony to help coach, just as he had tapped him to help with MAGA previously.

Joe retired from coaching in 2005 after 12 successful years. For Joe, golf is a fun pastime which he continued to participate in on a regular basis, but his real passion was for football. Joe’s love for football found a home when he and Jerry Crawford collaborated to create the Strathmore Pop Warner Football program to improve Strathmore High School’s success on the field. In 1988 this dream became a reality. Joe and Jerry led the Strathmore Boosters to raising thousands of dollars over the years to provide the proper equipment and facilities to ensure continued success of the Strathmore football program. These fundraising efforts included one of the first local charity, weekly bingo events.

Joe continued to support Strathmore High football and athletics through attendance of games and fundraising throughout his life. Some of his favorite memories were Strathmore winning the State Football Championship and the ensuing parade that followed.

In 1995, Joe was honored with the Friends-of-Education Award at the Annual Public Schools Banquet in Porterville. In 2012, Joe was honored as the founder of the Strathmore Youth Football Program before hundreds of attendees. He was given the distinction of being named as the first recipient of the Joe Vidrio Community Service Award by the Strathmore High Football Boosters at the inaugural Strathmore Football Hall of Fame Dinner in 2015.

Joe believed in supporting youth football as a means to bring opportunities to Strathmore youth and bring Valley Championships to Strathmore.

Joe loved his family. Family was an important element of his life. Joe is preceded in death by his wife, Tillie; his brothers, Frank, Chema (Joe), Carnie, and Tony. Joe’s survivors include his daughters Liz Salinas (Israel), JoAnn Macias, Patty Crocker (Rick), Cindy Littlejohn (William), and Francine Tsuboi; his son Paul; in addition to 11 grandchildren Celestine Zamora (Joey), Joseph Quezada, Antoinette Quezada, Thomas Macias, Richie Crocker, Kuyler Crocker, Aislyn (Paul) Williams, Kim (Randy) Luna, Chelsea Martinez, Hailey Tsuboi, Marisa Tsuboi and seven great grandchildren.

A visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 at the Porterville Funeral Chapel. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 at the Lindsay-Strathmore Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Strathmore High School Booster Club: 600 W. Grand Ave. Porterville, Ca 93257 memo: Joe R. Vidrio.

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