PORTLAND, Maine — Jose G. “Joe” Avila Jr., 73, died July 26, 2018, at Seaside Rehab and Health Care in Portland, Maine, after a long illness and while in hospice care.
He was born in McAllen, Texas, son of Josefina Gonzalez and Jose G. Avila. He grew up in Defiance, Ohio, where he co-captained the DHS Bulldog football team, which won the state championship in 1962 and was named to the All-Ohio Second Team. He was a member of the National Honor Society and president of the 1963 senior class. Recently he was honored as “Outstanding Defensive Player” in the DHS Hall of Fame. He attended University of Toledo on a full athletic scholarship and was active in the ROTC program, graduating in 1967 with a BS degree in industrial engineering.
Upon graduation he joined the U.S. Air Force and was based in Panama City, Fla. and had the rank of staff sergeant upon discharge. He was employed by Libby Owens in Perrysburg, Ohio, and later moved to McLouth Steel, working first in Monroe, Mich., and later transferred to Ironton, Ohio. In his later years, he lived in McAllen, Texas, where he developed and taught a unique system of learning ESL for adult learners. In McAllen, he worked with the local schools, organizing events to encourage student and family participation. San Antonio was home until he moved to Maine in 2013 as his health declined.
His passions included fishing, playing golf and creating both vegetable and flower gardens. He was constantly involved in home improvement projects, an avid reader and wonderful story teller. Above all, he was an excellent dancer. Joe valued family life and was at his best cooking at all family celebrations. He excelled in technical writing and wrote poetry for friends and family.
He was predeceased by his mother, Josefina G. Hernandez; stepfather, Jose Angel Hernandez; and father, Jose G. Avila.
He is survived by his son, Jose G. Avila III and his wife, Tina, and his grandson, Kane Avila of Malabar Fla.; his siblings, Maria Oralia Ruiz of Findlay, Ohio, Imelda Schaefer of Portland, Maine, Hilda Hernandez of Portland, Maine, Homero Hernandez of Las Vegas, Nev., and Linda Donahue of Windham, Maine.
The family extends their deep appreciation to the VA Maine Health Care system and staff, as well as the Beacon Hospice team for their help in his care.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are by A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, Portland.
To view Jose’s guestbook or leave the family an online condolence, please visit www.athutchins.com.