Israel James Valenzuela

Israel James Valenzuela
Provided Photo
Israel James Valenzuela

January 6, 1970 – April 8, 2021

It is with infinite sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved friend, father, brother and Son, Israel James Valenzuela. Born 1/6/1970 – Died 4/8/2021.

Better known as I.J, he was born in Barstow, CA. He lived all over Southern California with his mom, Nancy and then later finished high school in Palmdale, where he thrived in the skateboard and punk rock music scenes. As a young kid, when his family would travel to Lake Tahoe, he would cry when it was time to go home and swore to his mom that when he grew up, he would come back and make Tahoe his home. IJ made good on that promise, moving up to Incline Village, NV in 1988 with his second family, the Patas.

Soon after moving to Tahoe, he made his artist debut in the rising snowboard industry, as a photographer, writer/interviewer, and athlete. IJ found family in his friends and his “church” in the snowy backcountry all over the world, making turns with friends. During these soul sessions he was living out his dream. He lived big, documenting everything in his pictures, journals, articles in magazines or the larger-than-life stories he would tell family and friends. He lived limitlessly. He loved unconditionally, and with an abundance that most cannot conceive. If he loved you, you knew it, if he didn’t, you also knew it. IJ loved the ladies and they loved him right back. He was one of those people, no matter where you went, he knew at least one person and was always quick to greet with a smile and easy to laugh (oh that laugh). He was a consumer of music, a connoisseur of food, a chef at times, a prolific snowboarder, a doting father of his two sons, an avid support of Truckee football, and a writer of great imagination and truth. With all this said, his biggest passion to the end and always was first and foremost, his 2 amazing sons who will carry on his legacy and life, and then his family and his friends, which to him were one in the same Not many people get to live their life the way that he did, unapologetically, and absolutely free.

He is survived by his two beautiful sons, Emmanuel and Kingston, his mother, Nancy and her husband Mark, his father, Israel and his wife Lilia and his sister, Celina.

I.J’s Celebration of Life is set for Wednesday, May 26th at North Tahoe Beach at 1pm. If you have any pictures you would like to share, please send to before the 13th for a memorial display. Any contributions to carry on his legacy for his two sons should be made to the IJV Memorial at All money after the memorial will go to his sons.

IJ’s life did not end with his death. We carry on his legacy and his legendary lifestyle with love,and respect. Each and every day, find a moment to give thanks, feel the music, love one another, look to the sky and to the stars, soak up the sun, move with the wind, and bless up, because:

“That’s What We Do!” -IJV

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