Serving the community since 1970

Teofilo ``Tilo'' Gutierrez Cortez

Oct. 21, 1951 – April 10, 2024

Teofilo "Tilo" Gutierrez Cortez, Sr., 72, passed away in Wasco in his home while his wife and three children stood by his side after a 10-year battle with cancer.

Tilo was born Oct. 21, 1951, to Salvador and Maria Cortez in Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and was one of nine siblings. As proud migrant farmworkers, his family made their way to Texas, then to California. He first laid eyes on his wife, Amalia, while living at the "Labor Camp" in his teens. They were married for 53 years and went on to have three children and six grandchildren.

In his early years, Tilo's work ethic earned him a permanent supervisor position with Belridge Farms, which granted him the opportunity to plant his roots in Wasco. In the early '80s, he moved his family to McAllen, Texas, and became a successful farm labor contractor. Homesick after three years, they sold everything, and the family returned to Wasco for good.

In the late '80s, he started a cotton harvesting business that thrived with the local cotton industry. He would later become an expert diesel mechanic for a local trucking company until Cortez Trucking was born. When his cancer progressed, and he was no longer able to complete those grueling hours behind the wheel, he became a shuttle driver for the Aviator Casino, because he still loved the road.

Tilo spent every spare moment of sunlight tending to the fruit trees in his garden with his dog, Duke, where he found solace until the very end. He is remembered for his incredible tolerance for spice, endearing sarcasm and mischievous smile.

He is survived by his wife, Amalia; their children, Tilo Cortez, Jr., his wife, Jenny, and their children, Daniel, Cassandra and Kaitlyn; Angelica Cortez and her children, Juliana, Gabriel and Michael; and Christopher Cortez. He also is survived by his siblings, Ermelinda, Pedro, San Juanita and Margarita, an abundance of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, as well as his loyal canine companion, Duke.

 

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