Pedro Zarate Sr., 84, of Hoopeston, IL passed away at 3:51 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2020, at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center at Urbana, IL.
Mr. Zarate was born on October 19, 1936, in La Grulla, Texas, the son of Matias and Saturnina (Contreras) Zarate. He married Melida Treviño on February 14, 1960, at the La Sagrada Familia Church, in La Grulla, Texas. She survives.
He is also survived by his children, Jesus “Jesse” (Leslie Torres) Zarate of Hoopeston, Irasema (Ernesto) Zarate-Saldaña of Hoopeston, Pedro (Brenda) Zarate of Bainbridge, Indiana, and Rosario “Rosie” (Miguel) Zarate-Diaz of Hoopeston; ten grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; two sisters- Guadalupe (Robert) Kirkhart of Danville and San Juanita (Dupertino) Lopez of La Grulla, Texas; as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his infant son- Hugo Javier Zarate, his parents, three brothers- Braulio Zarate Sr., Baltazar “Charro” Zarate and Matias Zarate Jr. and two sisters- Severa Cisneros and Flor Estella Villareal.
Pedro was an active member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, where he served as a church trustee, usher and Eucharistic Minister for the past 40 years. He received the Pere Marquette Award by Bishop Jenky at a Mass held at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, in Peoria. He was a Knight of Columbus and a member of the Lion’s Club for many years. He was also a past recipient of the Hoopeston Chronicle Citizen of the Year Award. Pedro was always known for his work ethic. He first came to Hoopeston in 1951 and worked as a migrant worker for Joan of Arc, while also doing various jobs as a handyman, painter, and landscaping. He settled in Hoopeston in 1963. In later years, Pedro worked for Silver Brothers, Vermilion Iron, FMC, and American Can. He relocated to Mazon, IL in 1968 but he and his family would return to Hoopeston every weekend during the season that migrant workers were in the area and sold groceries to them from his van. Pedro returned to Hoopeston for good in 1974 with his wife and children to open Zarate’s Market. During his time running the store, he also ran a detasseling business. He had his own Spanish radio show which started as a 1 hour show and eventually became 1 ½ hours on Sunday afternoons on WHPO, he also promoted Spanish dances for the community. Music was an enormous part of his life. After his retirement and closing the store in 2001, he enjoyed traveling with his family, driving for various dealerships, volunteering at the food pantry in Rossville, coin collecting, doing crossword and word search puzzles, reading western books, and watching movies, especially Spanish novelas every night at 6:00 p.m. with his wife, Melida. He had a talent for memorizing road maps, and he could tell you how to get anywhere. Pedro never met a stranger and always enjoyed helping and spending time with people, especially his family.
Services will be held privately, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, in Hoopeston, with Father Thomas Gibson officiating and Father Ted Pracz assisting. Burial will follow the service in Floral Hill Cemetery. In lieu of a visitation, the family has asked that friends line Market Street north of Main Street at 11:00 am Saturday morning March 20th, as the procession travels to Floral Hill. Memorials may be made in Pedro’s name to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church of Hoopeston. The family has entrusted Blurton Funeral Home of Hoopeston to assist them in honoring Mr. Zarate’s life. Condolences may be shared with the family on his everlasting memorial page at: www.BlurtonFuneralHomes.com
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