Gilberto Zarate, Sr., age 81, of San Pedro, Texas, went to be with the Lord on Friday, August 4, 2017. He passed away at Christus Sister Mary Hospice Center in San Antonio, Texas, surrounded by his loving family.
Gilberto served three years in the U.S. Army as a Missile Master and was a trained expert marksman. Gilberto dedicated his life and career to the City of Brownsville as a firefighter of 32 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Firefighter. He served as the President of the Firefighters Association for twelve years, where he successfully fought for improved benefits and funding for the Brownsville Fire Department. Gilberto enjoyed playing Santa Claus for the Fire Department and a Brownsville nursing home formerly named Brownsville Good Samaritan. He served as a volunteer crossing guard at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Brownsville during weekend CCD classes.
Gilberto enjoyed spending time with his family, listening to music, and telling stories by the campfire. He was a man of tremendous faith and grit; a man who always put the needs of others before his. Gilberto was the rock of his family and will be forever missed.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Manuel Zarate and Maria B. Zarate; his brothers, Alejandro Zarate and Ernesto Zarate; and his sister, Juanita Z. Garza.
Gilberto is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Josefina R. Zarate; his children, Maria Z. Vallejo, Diana Zarate, Pat Zarate (Genese Lamare), and Gilbert Zarate, Jr.; his grandchildren: Tori Vallejo, James Zarate, and Soraya Lamare; his brothers: Manuel, Rey, Arturo, and Jorge; his sisters: Bertha Farias, Anna Ruiz, and Maria Elena Garza; and his faithful dog, April, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and other extended family members.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the East Chapel at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home. A rosary service is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. The Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 555 W. St. Francis St. All services will conclude after the Mass, and in accordance with Gilberto's wishes, cremation will follow.
Military honors will be rendered after Mass in front of the church by the VFW Funeral Honor Guard.
Gilbert Zarate, Jr., Patricia Zarate, Josh Villarreal, Joe Torres, Marco Zarate, and David Hinojosa are honored to be serving as Gilberto's pallbearers. Gilberto's brothers: Manuel, Reynaldo, Arturo, and Jorge Zarate along with Rudy Perez will serve as an honorary pallbearer.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Gilberto's name, may be made to Sunshine Haven Hospice Facility, 7105 West Lakeside Blvd., Olmito, Texas 78575.