Alvin John Baptista, a life-long resident of the Turlock area, died Sunday, September 26th, at the age of 91. The youngest of five children born to John and Evalena Baptista, he grew up on the family dairy on Mitchell Rd. and was active in 4H showing cattle. He attended Mitchell Grammar School and graduated from Turlock High School.
In 1951, Alvin was drafted into the Army and, after serving two years in Korea, he attended Modesto Junior College, majoring in agriculture while working as a full-time rancher raising turkeys and annual crops. In 1954, he married Betty Hammond and they had a daughter, Deborah.
Alvin worked for International Paper for 26 years while he continued to farm and ranch and, in keeping with the work ethic of his generation, he began a 12 year career with Turlock Recycling after he left International Paper.
In 1977, he developed an interest in raising, training and showing mules and, as a member of the American Mule Association and Back Country Horsemen, he traveled all over the country competing in various events. His mule teams won multiple world championships and set several world records for their weight class. His mule adventures included a 1990, 300 mile trip by mule drawn wagon train from Casper to Cody, WY, to celebrate the 100 year Centennial of the wagon train.
Alvin continued managing his ranching and farming operations until shortly before his death and was a life member and an office holder of the VFW Post 5059, Turlock, and also was a member and director of the American Legion Res Ish Post 88, Turlock.
In 1994, Alvin married Patricia Herrington, the love of his life. Together, they shared common interests, traveled and had a happy life in their country home on the Baptista ranch. Patricia died in 2010 after a long illness.
Alvin was preceded in death by his wife, Pat; former wife, Betty; brother, Edwin; and sisters, Patricia Vieira and Violet Lynn. He is survived by his daughter, Deborah Neilson of Napa; granddaughter, Ashley Kroeker of Port Moody, BC; sister, Viola Brown of Turlock; former wife, Oddette of Turlock; his step-children and dozens of adoring grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grand and great-grandnieces and nephews, as well as his special friend, Joann Youngdale of Turlock.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 21, 2021, at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock. Interment will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, October 22, 2021, at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, 32053 W. McCabe Rd., Santa Nella.