BULLHEAD CITY — Local resident and U.S. Army veteran Edward Hidalgo turns 90 on Wednesday.
That’s why a massive family celebration was on tap for next Saturday — a gala which has been erased due to the coronavirus.
Tori Meraz, one of Hidalgo’s great-grandchildren, said relatives from out of state were planning to attend.
“We planned to have a party with over 100 family members coming from Southern California, but because of the pandemic we have to cancel,” said Meraz, who attends Mohave Accelerated Learning Center and plays softball for the Lady Patriots.
In lieu of a hundred-plus visitors, Hidalgo will celebrate his birthday with close-knit company: His wife Frances, a handful of his children and granddaughters, plus two of his great-grandchildren. All told, Hidalgo has a half-dozen children, 14 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
“My family has always been my life,” said Hidalgo, who has been married for 69 years.
Born in Los Angeles in 1930, he tied the knot with Frances in 1951 and they eventually settled down in La Puente, California, in 1965.
Hidalgo said he “loved” being in the Army, for which he served as a supply sergeant for two years that didn’t entail fighting overseas.
“He loves telling us stories about his childhood and the Army,” said Meraz.
Hidalgo worked as a delivery truck driver at Zacky Farms for two decades and has been retired for more than 30 years.
For nearly a half-century, his family remained in La Puente before moving to Bullhead City around 2009. A few years later, he returned to California for medical reasons but has hunkered down in Bullhead City since February 2019.
“This time we’re staying here for good, because I love the Arizona heat,” Hidalgo said of the place where four of his six children live. One has moved to Georgia and the other died in 2018.
Now on the verge of becoming a nonagenarian, he said he likes to relax by watching game shows when his great-grandkids aren’t playing sports.
If Hidalgo has ever felt lonely during his twilight years, that won’t be the case this week when he blows out 90 miniature candles in good company.
What’s his secret to living for nine decades?
“To love life, always thank the Lord and surround yourself with family,” he said. “My advice to younger generations is to be patient, honest, respectful, take it day by day and enjoy every moment.”
Anyone may send birthday wishes to Hidalgo courtesy of Anna Martinez at 2476 Camino Del Rio Drive in Bullhead City.