Archive ID: 2020-026-1

Valadez brothers during Korean War

Date Created: 1953

Donor: Lupe Valadez

Media Type: Photograph


This photo depicts Lupe and Frank Valadez serving in the Korean War. The Valadez brothers were members of a well-known Mexican-American family from South Chicago. Their father Gerardo had arrived in South Chicago from the town of Jalisco in Mexico in 1924, while their mother Bentura Villalpando Valadez remained in Mexico. Wage earners emigrating first was common among immigrant families in the early twentieth century. After Bentura joined Gerardo, they settled down in South Chicago with a large family of six sons and a daughter. Gerardo worked at the U.S. Steel – South Works plant for over 30 years until he retired in 1958. All six sons would also work at U. S. Steel as skilled craftsmen. Gerardo and two of his sons, Lee and Ben, were masons. Harry and Lupe were machinists. Sacramento, known as Mento, was a carpenter. Frank worked as a pipefitter, first at South Works and later at US Steel – Gary Works in Indiana. The brothers would spend anywhere from 20 to 44 years working in the steel mills. A photo from a US Steel-South Works plant magazine taken in the mid 1950s depicts Gerardo and five of his sons who were then employed at South Works. (Harry, the youngest, hadn’t yet begun working there). Lupe, depicted in this photo, started working at U. S. Steel in 1951. After serving in the Army, he returned to work at South Works for 34 years. Frank began working at US Steel after his military service and would work there for 30 years.

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