Community celebrates beloved friend
Canby's Fred Quintero has never been short on friends. But a debilitating medical episode and the COVID-19 pandemic have essentially isolated him from his grand social circle — that is, until the community stepped up to give Quintero an unforgettable birthday parade.
Quintero graduated from Molalla High School and married his high school sweetheart Julie Devine, who graduated from Canby High School. Since then, the Quinteros have built their life in the area.
Community members could find Quintero working at Canby Ford, teeing off at Arrowhead Golf Club, serving on the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce board or the Canby Rodeo board, or perhaps coaching and giving private hitting lessons for baseball and softball.
"I haven't, in my growing up, ever met anybody who didn't know my dad, which is good and bad sometimes," said Quintero's daughter, Danielle Corey. "Like I remember being in school, and I'd get home, and my dad's like, 'Oh, I heard you did great on your test.' And I'm like, 'Well, I haven't gotten it back,' and he's like, 'Oh, well I ran into your teacher at Thriftway during lunch.'"
Corey said even during travel to other states, she found people who knew her dad.
"I'm like, how is this even possible?" she said.
Then in January 2019, Quintero suffered a catastrophic pontine hemorrhagic stroke, a type which often proves fatal.
"Pontine" means that the stroke occurred in the pons region of Quintero's brain, a part containing nerves and nerve tracts that affect movement and sensory messages between the brain and the body. It also coordinates balance in the head, neck and body and plays a role in eye movement, sleeping, digestion and more.
The stroke left Quintero physically disabled and wheelchair-bound, but Corey said he has his memory and still never forgets a face.
Julie became Quintero's primary caregiver and Corey, with her husband and children, moved in to help.
After COVID-19 came along, Quintero remained at home to protect his health.
"He was very independent. He golfed multiple times a week, and he was doing hitting lessons, so he was on the baseball field, and he was helping down at Canby Ford," Corey said. "He went from living this huge lifestyle where he was everywhere to basically being confined to home."
So, when Quintero's 59th birthday approached, Corey had the idea of throwing a parade to give Quintero the chance to see all the folks he used to greet in his daily life.
"And so then one thing led to another and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger," Corey said.
Fire Chief Jim Davis, who said Quintero was one of the first people he met when he moved to Canby, even got the fire department involved.
And on Feb. 6, piles of vehicles lined up in the Trost Elementary School parking lot before parading in front of the Quintero home to make the day special. Quintero enjoyed the party from under a tent with his grandchildren, Corey's children, nearby, holding handmade signs for their "papa."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.