Baez, Wilfredo “Willie”
Wilfredo “Willie” Baez, age 77 of Byram Township, passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side, on Sunday May 19, 2019. Willie was born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico on December 10, 1941 to his parents, Miguel and Isabel (Bonilla) Baez. At two years of age, Willie and his family moved to New York City, where he grew up. Willie resided for many years in the South Bronx and Manhattan, NY, Summit, NJ and Berkeley Heights, NJ before moving to Byram Township in 2016.
Willie was a graduate of George Washington High School in New York City, Class of 1959. Willie actively competed in the Golden Gloves annual boxing events, from 1961 through 1963, earning the coveted Spanish Golden Gloves Champion title in 1964. Willie proudly served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War from 1964 through 1966. Throughout his uniformed service, he continued to box, and triumphantly defeated the Marine, Air Force, and Okinawan Champions while further representing the United States Army in Korea.
In addition to boxing, Willie completed five New York City Marathons and was an accomplished high diver. Following his military service, Willie was employed by NASA, where he worked in the Information Technology Department. Willie then gained employment with EquiServe (formerly Morgan Guarantee Trust Company), at the World Trade Center and later in Jersey City, NJ where he remained until his retirement.
In addition to Willie’s many accolades as an athlete, he was a loving, devoted and selfless husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, godfather, uncle, and brother. Willie was preceded in death by his brothers, Tony and Freddy Baez. Willie is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Dr. Ana L. (Serra) Baez; his daughter, Sandy, and her husband, Victor Crabtree of Hendersonville, TN; his son, Daven, and his wife, Martha Baez of Byram Township, NJ; and his brother, David Baez of New York. Willie is also survived by his six grandchildren, Brooke Chapman, Dante, Luke and Chance Baez, Tori Crabtree, K.C. Gilreath, and Zane Crabtree, and his great-granddaughter, Luna Gilreath. Willie also had many nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church, 48 Tranquility Road in Andover, NJ, on Saturday, May 25, 2019, at 11:00 AM. Willie will be laid to rest immediately following Mass, in the Church’s Cemetery. Visitation will be held in the Iliff-Ruggiero Funeral Home, located at 156 Main Street (Rt. 206), Newton, NJ, on Friday, May 24, 2019, from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM, and from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM.