Lazaro’s Life Story
Lazaro R. Villarreal was born on April 27, 1953, in Texas. He was the oldest brother out of eight children. Lazaro passed away peacefully on September 25, 2021, at the age of 68. Lazaro is survived by his three children, Lazaro Jr, Marta, Laura; grandchildren, Asa, Izabella, Ezra, and Hezekiah; his sister Severiana; brothers Manuel, Joe, and David; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Lazaro had a difficult upbringing. At the age of four, he began working the fields along with his parents. When his father left the family, he became the protector and the father figure to his younger siblings. He had the fine example of his mother, Maria Rodriguez Villarreal, who taught him the value of hard work and dedication. Lazaro continued going to school until the 10th grade, but to help the family, he willingly dropped out of high school to help financially.
Though he faced many challenges throughout his childhood, his lifeline was his relationship with Jehovah. Lazaro relied on him and knew his life’s happiness was dedicating his life to serving Jehovah. Lazaro made his public dedication to Jehovah by baptism on April 22, 1967. A couple of years later, at a convention in Watsonville, CA, Lazaro met a young sister named Maria Sanchez, who would become the love of his life. They were married in 1973 and thus began their love story. In the years that followed, Lazaro and Mary welcomed their three children and continued working hard as parents, setting a fine example for their children in furthering kingdom interests.
For many years Lazaro served as an elder, developing qualities such as patience, love, being approachable, and most importantly, humbleness. He had the wonderful privilege of serving in various Spanish congregations and groups in Watsonville, Castroville, Hollister, and Gilroy. As a result, Lazaro met many brothers and sisters who would become lifelong friends. He watched them progress from a person studying the bible to baptism, and many becoming pioneers, ministerial servants, and elders.
During this time, Lazaro faced some financial difficulties. There were times when he did not have enough gas to get home or groceries to feed his family, yet he never stopped doing Jehovah’s work. He knew Jehovah would take care of him and his family if he continued to put kingdom interests first. Lazaro was able to experience firsthand Jehovah’s help in many ways because Jehovah always provided what he needed!
In the 1980’s Lazaro had the opportunity to attend continuation high school. Along with his brother Manuel, they both studied hard, and in 1984 they received their high school diploma. Receiving his diploma was an accomplishment he was proud of and opened many doors for Lazaro, including becoming an electrician. As he developed his electrician skills, he was lovingly nicknamed “Sparky Jay.”
Lazaro put his skillset to good use and helped in many kingdom hall constructions. He also began working in the RBC and LDC. He had the incredible privilege of working as an electrician at Warwick and in disaster relief in Puerto Rico. He lived to serve Jehovah and the brothers who needed assistance. Lazaro had so much passion for these projects and made new friends in the process.
Lazaro loved the friends in the congregation. He had a genuine interest in them, and as the years passed, he became more loving and compassionate. These qualities helped him become a better friend, a father figure, and a confidant to many. Lazaro was a true example of putting Jehovah first and displaying love, kindness, and patience towards others. He was always busy in Jehovah’s service, whether in the preaching work, the LDC work, or occupied with congregation matters. Even though health complications had slowed him down a bit in the last few years, his love for others came first. He spent countless hours texting and calling friends on the phone, doing his very best to encourage them.
His greatest joy and accomplishment was his family. Lazaro was a dedicated family man. He lovingly supported his family through their spiritual goals and through the hardships they faced. He loved going on many adventures with his family, being outdoors, sitting in the sun, camping, and barbeques. He had a beautiful and loyal relationship with his brothers, his best friends. They would go out and eat breakfast every chance they got. When he became a grandpa, he dedicated so much time and energy to be with his little grandsons. Even when he was sick, the little ones loved coming over and spending time with their grandpa watching tv, listening to music, talking, playing games, or simply sitting with him.
Lazaro experienced many losses, his brother, his sisters, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, mother, nephew, and the greatest of all, Mary, the love of his life. Yet, through the heartache and pain, Lazaro endured and never lost hope. He firmly believed Jehovah’s promise recorded in Revelation 21:4, “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” He held this promise close to his heart. As 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the race to the finish, I have observed the faith.” Lazaro ran his race and faithfully served Jehovah till the end. We hold his fine example and all of Jehovah’s promises close to our heart and anxiously await when “all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out” (John 5:28, 29).