HURON, Ohio — Baldomero Mendieta Gallegos, a retired accountant from Sandusky who was a volunteer fencing teacher and aficionado, died of a degenerative lung condition Wednesday at Admiral’s Pointe Nursing and Rehabilitation in Huron. He was 84.
“He was passionate about fencing,” Joel Gallegos, his son, said. “And he loved horses and equestrian riding. And he loved history. And he was an amazingly gregarious individual who was extremely welcoming to everyone.”
Having learned fencing from his father, Mr. Gallegos volunteered to teach fencing to hundreds from the 1960s through the 1990s at a number of community groups and colleges, mostly in northwest Ohio, promoting the sport as an art form, his son said. In the 1980s, Mr. Gallegos was the master of fencing in residence at Oberlin College, and at times taught fencing at the Sandusky YMCA, he said.
Over the years, Mr. Gallegos also worked in a variety of capacities at United Fruit Co. in Cleveland and Lyman Boats, Sandusky Foundry, and General Motors, all in Sandusky.
He retired in the early 1990s from GM, his son said.
Mr. Gallegos was born Feb. 20, 1929, in Malaga, Spain, to the late Alex and Auleria Gallegos and was raised in Spain, France, Germany, Argentina, and Mexico, learning fencing and horse riding.
Besides English, he spoke Spanish and French, his son said.
In 1948, at age 19, Mr. Gallegos enrolled at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, but after a year or two he withdrew and moved to the Mansfield, Ohio, area to be with family friends.
Soon after coming to Ohio, Mr. Gallegos joined the Army and later entered active combat in the Korean War, serving two tours of duty as a master sergeant and tank commander. He then served in the Army Reserve for 13 years, the younger Gallegos said.
After the war, Mr. Gallegos returned to Ohio and went into public relations and bookkeeping in Cleveland, where he hired on with United Fruit, according to his son. In 1954, he married Susan de Board in Clay, W.Va. She died Nov. 10, 2007.
His hobbies included reading, particularly history and philosophy, and discussing books with friends. He also enjoyed listening to the Spanish guitar and watching Westerns and documentaries.
He was a longtime parishioner of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Sandusky, where he was an usher.
Surviving are his sons, Richard, Gary, and Joel, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. today at the David F. Koch Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 520 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Services will begin at 9:40 a.m. Monday in the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. at Ss. Peter and Paul Church, 510 Columbus.
The family suggests tributes to Stein Hospice Service Inc. in Sandusky.
Contact Mike Sigov at: 419-724-6089, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @mikesigovblade.