A very noble man is now in heaven. Jose Gil Sr.  passed away quietly at home on Saturday, March 8, surrounded by his sizable family.

“Papá” was born in the small farming community of El Sitio, Zacatecas, Mexico, on March 1, 1924, to Francisca Gil Macias and Pablo Gil. For all of us who were blessed to have known him, Papá was the ultimate hero.  His legacy can best be described in four words:  Honor, respect, integrity and humility.

He came to the United States in the late 1950s under the Bracero program and worked in the cotton fields, later settling in Santa Barbara, where he worked in various restaurants, then as a gardener at La Cumbre Country Club and subsequently ran his own gardening business.  He believed it was an honor to be working in this great country and instilled respect in every task he performed.

After a number of years of working and making his annual trip to visit the family, in 1970 Papá made one of his major decisions — to bring his 11 siblings to El Norte, the United States. And what a blessing! The ability to be with his biggest joy —  “La Familia.”  He stopped working his “garden” when he suffered his first of five strokes in 1993.

His faith,  kindness, resiliency, will and sense of family unity, along with the numerous grandkids, kept his unique smile sparkling throughout his heart failure and strokes. Papá did not have a Ph.D., or a Master’s, or a B.S.; as a matter of fact, he only had the privilege to attend elementary school, yet he was the most intelligent man on Earth.  Some of us have called him “a man ahead of his time,” because of his moral values, impeccable integrity, respect toward others and teaching by example. He was happy being with his family and all those around him who truly loved him so much.

Papá is survived by his beloved and most devoted wife, Genoveva Gil of 61 years; his 12 children — all living within a close distance — include Teresa Perfecto, Oralia Limon, Alicia Williford, Emma Montes de Oca-Gil, Evelia Adame, Guille Reynoso, and Monica, Jose Jr., Ernesto, Raul, Adalberto (Beto)  and Gerardo Gil. In addition, there are 21 grandchildren and three great grandchildren who lit up ‘buelito’s room when they walked in to listen to the “voice” of Jose Gil.

Papá Ud. fue el hombre de mas respeto, humilde, trabajador y generoso en la Tierra y ahora sus cualidades de hombre de fe tambien ya estan en el cielo.  Ud. se ha ido de este mundo,  pero nunca a muerto porque un hombre solo muere cuando alguien lo olvida y su memoria siempre seguira viviendo.  Que Dios lo acompañe en su reino.

The Gil family would like to especially thank Dr. Bordofsky for his everlasting care and support for Papá  Gil.

Rosary will be 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 227 N. Nopal St., and the funeral mass will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 12, at the same location followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery.  Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Arrangements by Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.