Eloy Diaz passed away on February 27, 2023, at home at the age of 69. He was born October 23, 1953, in McAllen, Texas, to Vlademir and Amelia Garcia Diaz. Eloy Grew up as the favored brother to five sisters. His two older sisters Amy and Ida always set him up as the fall guy for childhood mischief. They moved away as adults but always stayed in contact and were very close. He really enjoyed his "daily coffee talk time" with Ida and whether he wanted to admit it or not the political arguments with Amy. His younger sisters Diana, Irma, and Lisa had their "big Bro' and Tio (uncle) in the local area.
As a young boy, his family moved to Oregon and settled in Nyssa, where he joined his parents working in the fields. With a mom who was super protective of her only son. Eloy told stories of playing football in high school under an assumed name. Following his graduation from Nyssa High School in 1972, Eloy enlisted in the Navy and served three tours in Vietnam aboard the USS Camden. He was very proud of the time he served and would always thank others for their service. He lived by the ship's creed, "My word is my honor."
After an honorable discharge, Eloy returned to live in the Malheur County area and began working in the jail for the Malheur County Sheriff's Office where he worked for 12 years. He then went to work in Union County jail for 10 years before he began working for Snake River Correctional Institute in 1998. He remained there until his retirement in 2019.
Eloy met and married Cindy Toombs and the couple had two children, David and Molly(Tia). Although the marriage ended, he and Cindy remained friends. Eloy was very proud of the life his daughter Tia (Punkin) and David have made for themselves in Portland, OR.
Eloy then met Bobbi Peden, and they spent 33 years living and loving life together. Eloy wanted to show Bobbi the places he had been and wanted to make lasting memories. He just wanted to spend time together even if it was just going to the drive-in, camping, driving in the mountains, or traveling to Europe. This time was important to him. They raised one son, Christopher Peden.
Eloy always had a story to tell and loved to be outside, whether fishing, hunting, camping, hosting barbecues for his family and friends, or teaching the grandchildren to swim in Bully Creek. He had many adventures with his two best friends, Tom and Doug. They were known as the "Three Amigos, " or "the good, the bad, and the ugly." We definitely will not tell you who was who.
Many memories were also made in his dream car, a "72 Challenger, and its replacement after a wreck, a 2008 Challenger. He wanted to teach his grandson, Kadin, how to drive this car so they could take many road trips down memory lane.
Eloy was proud to be a second-generation American and was genuinely an all-around good man. Strangers were only friends he hadn't met yet, and friends were family if you respected him. He would give you the shirt off his back - and sometimes his shoes. Eloy was larger than life, and when he walked into a room everybody knew him, his big smile, personality, and generous supply of homemade tortillas and salsa.
He loved being a Dad to David, Tia, and Chris and he loved being a Papa to his grandchildren. Those kids were the light of his life - he would do anything for them. He was a Tio (Uncle) to many, both by blood and not. His number one priority was to make memories with those he loved most.
Eloy is preceded in death by both parents, his brother, Beto Sandoval; his sisters, Irma Diaz and Lisa Mendez: his mother-in-law, Carla Peden: and his best fur buddy, Caede.
Eloy is survived by his wife, Bobbi; his children, David Diaz of Beaverton, Ore., Tia (Dan) Bellm of Portland, Ore., Chris Peden, Idaho, and bonus daughter Brianne Peden of Fruitland, Idaho; his sisters, Amy (Larry) Barr, of Terrabonne, Ore., Ida (Paul) Barry of Merritt Island, Fla., and Dianna Diaz of Boise, Idaho; his grandchildren, Jade and saige Hovey, and Kadin, Rylee, Madi, and Lauryn Peden: "Brothers Tom (Diane) Roberts of Sacramento, Calif., and Doug (Diane) Dalton of La Grande, Ore.; a special niece Marie (Christian) Bennett of Elgin, Ore., and many more nieces and nephews.
Eloy once expressed concern that nobody would know his legacy, but it lives on in his children, grandchildren, his nieces, and nephews, and all those who knew him and loved him.
A Celebration of Eloy's Life will be held Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Los Portillos Restaurant at 49 NW 1st Street, Ontario, Oregon from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Please come share your favorite stories and a meal with Eloy.
A graveside service with military honors will be held in La Grande on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 3:00 pm at Hillcrest East Cemetery located at 600 S. 12th Street La Grande, Ore with a gathering at the Legion Hall 301 Fir St. La Grande, Ore shortly after. Arrangements are under the direction of Lienkaemper-Thomason Funeral Home.