HAYWARD — Ernesto Nava, the last living son of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, died of natural causes Dec. 31. He was 94.
Nava, a Hayward resident since moving to Russell City in 1942, was born in Mexico but moved with his mother to New Mexico when he was very young.
Nava never met his father, and didn't learn his identity until he was 8 years old. He was told by his mother never to reveal the secret, as Villa had numerous enemies who might have wanted to harm him or his family, said his son, Sam Nava.
About 15 years ago, Nava told his family about their ancestry. Shortly after, on a trip to his hometown of Durango, Mexico, word leaked out that Villa's son was staying in town.
"It exploded," Sam Nava said. "It became a really big thing. We would go down there once a year and they would plan all these events for us to go to."
Ernesto Nava also made local appearances at churches and schools until about five years ago, when his health began to decline.
Services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Union City Apostolic Church, 33700 Alvarado Niles Road, Union City. A funeral procession will begin at the church at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and end at Chapel of the Chimes, 32992 Mission Blvd., Hayward.
More information about Ernesto Nava can be found at http://navavilla.com.
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473.