Joseph Steven Valenzuela: Who Is Ritchie Valens’ Father?

Joseph Steven Valenzuela

Joseph Steven Valenzuela is the father of American guitarist, singer, and songwriter born Richard Steven Valenzuela but famously known as Ritchie Valens. Joseph’s son Ritchie Valens was a rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement. He encountered a plane crash and was killed eight months into his music career.

Joseph Steven Valenzuela: Bio Summary

NameJoseph Steven Valenzuela
Famous asfather of Ritchie Valens
Date of birth25 December 1896
Died8 January 1952 (aged 55)
ParentsMarciano Valenzuela and Agripina Valenzuela
SpouseConcepcion Valenzuela
ChildrenRitchie Valens, Connie Lemos

Who Is Joseph Steven Valenzuela?

Joseph Steven Valenzuela is the father of Ritchie Valens. He was born on the 25th of December, 1896, in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA. He was born to his parents Marciano Valenzuela and Agripina Valenzuela. He was a laborer by profession. He was the husband of Concepcion Valenzuela (1915–1987).

Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Valenzuela were seeing each other for a while before finally deciding to spend the rest of their lives as husband and wife. They got married on 15 September 1939 in Los Angeles County, California. They got married in a ceremony in front of family and friends. There are no details of how they met or when they met.

Also Read: Concepcion Valenzuela: Where Is Ritchie Valens’ Mother Now?

However, Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Valenzuela got divorced due to unknown reasons but we have no data on when they got separated. It is unknown if Joseph Valenzuela remarried but his ex-wife Concepcion got married to a man identified as Robert Morales. They got married in 1952.

Joseph and Concepcion have a son called Richard Steven Valenzuela, born on May 13, 1941, in Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, U.S. He is well known as Ritchie Valens and he was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Ritchie Valens has two younger sisters, Connie Lemos and Irma Norton. He also has two half-brothers Roberto “Bob” Morales and Mario Ramirez.

Ritchie Valens’ half-brother, Bob Morales died on 15 September 2018, in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California, US, at age 81 of Prostate Cancer.

Also Read: Connie Lemos: Facts About Ritchie Valens’ sister

Joseph Steven Valenzuela’s Famous Son

Joseph Steven Valenzuela’s son Ritchie Valens, was a rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement. He was hoisted listening to traditional Mexican mariachi music, flamenco guitar, R&B, and jump blues. He wanted to make his own music by the age of five years.

Joseph Steven Valenzuela was the one who gave his son Ritchie Valens the motivation to take up guitar and trumpet and later taught himself the drums. Joseph’s son Ritchie Valens was more skillful with his left hand and he wanted to learn how to play the guitar. He learned and mastered the traditionally right-handed version of the instrument.

Ritchie Valens attended Pacoima Junior High School and later San Fernando High School. At age 15, he was a student at Pacoima Junior High School, now Pacoima Middle School. He was fond of playing guitar and singing songs to his friends. He was asked to participate in a local band called The Silhouettes, where he was a guitarist, and later the main vocalist.

Ritchie Valens’ performing debut with The Silhouettes occurred on October 19, 1957. He repeatedly improvised new lyrics and added new riffs to popular songs while he was playing. The demands of his career forced him to drop out of high school. He is known for the hit songs: Come On, Let’s Go, Donna, and La Bamba.

Ritchie Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 2001, and in May 2022, the United States Post Office in Pacoima, California named the post office in honor of Ritchie Valens.

Is Joseph Steven Valenzuela Still Alive?

No, Joseph Steven Valenzuela is not alive. He died on January 08, 1952, at age 55. He died in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States. The cause of his death is reportedly due to Arteriosclerosis. His ex-wife Concepcion Valenzuela died on 18 October 1987, in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County, California, USA, at age 72.

Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Valenzuela’s son Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, in Clear Lake, Iowa, U.S. alongside fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and pilot Roger Peterson. He was 17 years old when he died.

Their tragic death is known as “The Day the Music Died“. The reason why the plane crashed is still unspecified. He suffered massive and unsurvivable head injuries along with blunt-force trauma to the chest. He was in a relationship with his high school sweetheart, Donna Ludwig from 1957 until his death.

Ritchie Valens’ remains were buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California. He and his mother Concepcion Valenzuela were buried by each other.

Ruth Kai Botchway

Ruth Kai Botchway is a Senior Editor at She is a graduate of All Stars Media College (2021) with a Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies. With more than two years experience in Journalism, she has served as an intern at Accra FM and worked with Green TV and Ashiaman TV. She worked as a Maritime Journalist/ influencer, producing Port and Maritime agenda initially aired on Ashiaman TV. You can reach her via email:

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