Obituary for Steven Edward Quintana
Steven Edward Quintana – “Chico” - Shiyadaa Kaa, Kahklen (Kaa Klin), age 66, passed away at his home December 7, 2016 in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina from advanced diabetes connected to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. Steve was born September 16, 1950 in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California to Jean Esther Messina Quintana Slaughter and Arthur Chacon Quintana who preceded him in death.
He graduated from Channel Islands High School, Oxnard, Ventura County, California. In the Army he was an UH-1 Huey crew chief and door gunner in Vietnam with Little Bears, “A” Company, 25th Aviation Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. Their motto was “We fly for the troops”. He was awarded two Bronze Stars. After getting out of the Army in December 1972, he worked with his father at Karl’s Shoe Store in Los Angeles, California. A few years later he moved his family to Colorado where he attended Colorado Aero Tech. He earned his licenses as an airframe powerplant (A&P) mechanic and single engine airplane pilot. He went to work with Era Helicopters Juneau, Alaska flying the Trans Alaska Pipeline stretching 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. He joined the Alaska Army National Guard. In 1979 Chico became a full-time aircraft mechanic for the Guard. As a civilian, he worked at the Alaska Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility (AASF) on Fort Richardson, Alaska as the UH-1 Huey and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters propeller and rotor mechanic. In 2004 he retired as an aviation maintenance supervisor. He also retired as an Army soldier in 2004. He was most proud of the years he served as the First Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 1/207th Aviation Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard.
In 2009 Steve earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Education with special emphasis in Aviation Maintenance from Wayland Baptist University in Anchorage, Alaska then joined his wife who had transferred in 2007 from Alaska to the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury North, Carolina.
He had the privilege of performing many weddings for friends and his children as a Wedding Officiant. In addition to his passion for Aviation, he loved giving of himself. He truly passed his blessings forward by providing gifts to those less fortunate. It was not uncommon for him to take several cards off a Christmas tree of needs and purchase everything listed on them.
One of Chico’s most enduring and extraordinary experiences began in the fall of 1989 when he stepped into the title role of Santa Claus – with the Alaska National Guard’s, well-known and possibly famous, Operation Santa Claus. One of the key purposes of Operation Santa Claus was to assure that Alaskan children in remote villages would have a Christmas despite any disasters that may have befallen their communities earlier in the year. Knowing the mission, Chico brought his love for children, and people in general, to the show. Over time, Operation Santa Claus grew into a much beloved community relations program reaching up to several thousand children in villages annually. It became clear, early on, that Chico would likely have passed any blood test that Ancestry.com might have devised for assuring that Santa’s bloodline was alive. As the program grew, so grew the interest of others in Santa Claus – year around. Whether appearing at concerts with the Air Force Band of the Pacific, responding to interviews with radio stations, and news reporters – he and Mrs. Claus were always up for it. Their goodwill added understanding for Operation Santa Claus. It was Chico who brought such a high degree of dignity and authority to this special assignment. Together with Mrs. Claus, he held babies, children and seasoned citizens – everyone wanted to be listened to by Santa Claus – and Chico made sure that happened with selfless grace, able humor, and respectful love of others. He really never had to act. He simply called upon his better angels. It’s rare when someone can ever say they’ve had such a wide impact on so many others. The funny thing is – Chico wouldn’t be the one to point that out. It will remain for others to describe how their lives are better because he was in it. He never expected anything, and he always gave everything. His service to his Nation – through the U.S. Army and Alaska Army National Guard – is a matter of extraordinary record. His selfless work with Operation Santa Claus, on behalf of tens of thousands of Alaskan children, is sealed in their hearts, minds and spirits. Forever.
Steve was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Salisbury. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9785 Eagle River, Alaska and Disabled American Veterans; a member of the American Legion, Post 185 China Grove, North Carolina.
Chico was first adopted in 1993 by the matriarch of the of the family, Vivian (Demeret) Kahklen (Kaa-Klin) in a beautiful Tlingit ceremony. Her son, State Command Sergeant Major Kahklen, was among those killed in the Alaska Army National Guard C-12 airplane crash in November 1992. Chico’s name became Kara Klan, the big man, Kahklen. Subsequently Chico officially became Kahklen and was bestowed the name Shiyaada Kaa, sharing his fallen brother Archie Llewelyn Kahklen's Tlingit family name. “Joe and Vivian thought of him as a true blood son and he always felt in his heart they were Mom and Pop. His pride, love and honor he wore on his sleeve every day of his life, sends happiness and pride through hearts and souls of the Kahklen family”.
Steve was the loving and devoted husband, best friend, and life companion of Lexia A. Frasher-Quintana for 24 wonderful years. He was a beloved father to Dustin Quintana, Concord, North Carolina; Erica Quintana Atchley (Eric) Kansas City, Missouri; and step-father to Melissa Rich Myers (Steve) Woodburn, Kentucky. He was proud and honored of being called Grandpa by Theresa (Patrick) Marietta, Georgia and Darwin, Huntersville, North Carolina; Nicolas, Donovan, Minnie Kansas City, Missouri and Erynn, Boston, Massachusetts; Meadow and Raegan, Woodburn, Kentucky and Joseph, Meridian, Idaho; Jessica (Tim) Stafford, Virginia; Avery, Anchorage, Alaska; and GGPa to Avalon and Gaelen, Stafford, Virginia.
Additional survivors include three brothers, Larry (Kim) Modesto, California; Mark (Karen) Loveland, Colorado; Lance Slaughter (Marcine) Fresno, California; nieces and nephews dear to him, Dominic, New York, New York; Stephanie (Trent) and Stuart, Loveland, Colorado; Tara (Matt) Modesto, California; Tess (Bryan) San Jose, California; Andrew, Morro Bay, California; and Ashley (Fresno, California); numerous cousins in California and Oregon; Ben Carlton, his cherished personal assistant of three years; and home care givers Tamar, Whitney and Destin to whom the family will be forever grateful. Chico was an inspiration and mentor to many, he had countless loving and faithful friends across the United States.
The family of Steven E “Chico” Quintana wishes to extend our sincere appreciation to the doctors, nurses, and staff of the W.G. “Bill” Hefner VA Medical Center – outpatient, inpatient, rehabilitation services; Bayada Home Health Care; and Rowan Hospice and Palliative Care for their excellent physical, emotional, and spiritual care.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 11 AM Monday (Dec. 12) at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury, NC, conducted by Father John Eckert. Burial will be in Fort Richardson National Cemetery in Anchorage, Alaska at a later date.
Memorials may be made to: Rowan Hospice & Palliative Care, 720 Grove Street, Salisbury, NC 28144; The Salvation Army Alaska Division, 143 E. 9th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99501; or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
Summersett Funeral Home is serving the Quintana family. Online condolences may be made to www.summersettfuneralhome.com.
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