Edilberto Ortiz

Obituary of Edilberto "Eddie" Ortiz

Devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend and family man, Edilberto “Eddie” Ortiz, 75, passed away Friday, May 12, 2023, at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash. Eddie was a devout Christian and embraced those values daily.


He was born to Irene Hernandez Ruiz and Aurelio Ortiz on Dec. 27, 1947, in Guayama, Puerto Rico. He moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York City, at age six.


Eddie served four years active duty in the U.S. Army as a Combat Medic with the 47th Surgical Team. He then served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, retiring as Chief Master Sergeant after 30 years of service. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air and Space Commendation Medal, Air and Space Outstanding Unit Award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air and Space Longevity Service Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, as well as training and graduate ribbons.


Eddie graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in education and taught at Gault Middle School.  He later worked as a state investigator, retiring from the state Department of Social and Health Services in 2005.


Eddie and Colleen, who’ve been soulmates for 30 years, were married March 21, 2009, in Lacey, Wash.


He learned at a very early age how to prepare his Puerto Rican cultural food. Eddie loved cooking for his family and friends. His specialties were Pork Adobo, Arroz Con Gandules and Pernil (roast pork). His joy was to see his family and friends enjoy the food he prepared.


Another of his passions was working out religiously five to six times a week.  He was at the gym or running outdoors almost every day.  When he was a teenager in New York, he was a boxer on the Police Athletic League. Eddie was a board member, avid supporter, and participant of the Washington State Senior Games.


Eddie also volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, supporting children in foster care in their court proceedings.


Eddie left a lifetime impression on his family and the many people who are honored to call him a friend.


Here are just a couple of the condolences from family and friends, testaments to his legacy of values that honor family, friendships, and human kindness.


“He made a lasting impression on all who knew him, with his larger-than-life personality, engaging life stories, not to mention his beautiful voice. We will never forget the many memories, from his singing and dancing to the most delicious Puerto Rican dinners and conversations out on the back patio during summertime.”


“I find it extremely difficult to put into words what your friendship, mentorship and brotherhood has meant to me. I’ve watched you teach grown men how to be civil and have manners and I’ve watch you teach grown men how to be respectful of women.”


“Thank you for being part of my life. Thank you for sharing your family with mine. We will try to be the example of what you are leaving behind, but no one can ever replace the giant that you are.”


“He was a man of strength, honor and integrity.”


Eddie is survived by his wife, Colleen; seven children, Lisa Marie Ortiz, Edilberto Ortiz, Jr., Rebecca Irene Ortiz, Marisa Kathleen Ortiz, Erica Rene VanOgle and Daniel Steven Winter; his four brothers and two sisters; 20 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.


Eddie was preceded in death by his daughter, Leticia Evette Ortiz.


A Celebration of Life is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Monday, May 22, 2023, at the Capital Christian Center, 4431 Martin Way, Olympia, WA 98516.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of his daughter, Leticia Evette Ortiz, to the Multiple Sclerosis Society (secure donations can be made online), or mail to the society at PO Box 54879, Los Angeles, CA 90054.


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