It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our brother, uncle, and friend, Jesse Arellano Villegas on Dec. 19, 2012. Jesse was born on July 15, 1955 in Ventura, Calif. to Willie C. Villegas II and Estella A. Villegas. Jesse moved with his family to Hatch in 1963 where he, his brothers and sisters worked on the family farm. Jesse Graduated from Hatch Valley High School in 1974. After high school, Jesse enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served his country honorably upon the USS Ogden. While in the Navy, Jesse received the National Defense Service Metal, Distinguished Service Metal and Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal. Jesse was honorably discharged on May 8, 1976. Jesse was a self-employed "jack of all trades" and had a great passion for gardening. In addition to maintaining his own garden, Jesse helped others build and maintain their gardens and worked on community member's yards. Jesse loved to cook. He spent a lot of time over the stove cooking a variety of dishes for family and friends. Jesse had a giving heart and spent his spare time volunteering for veterans and anyone else who was in need. Jesse will always be remembered for his kindness, smile, sense of humor and his ability to tell vivid stories about his life experiences. Jesse is preceded in death by his father Willie C. Villegas II, his mother Estella A. Villegas, brother Marty A. Villegas, and nephew Christopher Villegas. Jesse is survived by his brother Willie A. Villegas and wife Esther of Hatch, Roger A. Villegas and wife Cecilia of Las Cruces, Angie Justus and husband Larry of Hatch, Ruth Madrid and husband Manny of Hatch, Blanca Villegas of Las Cruces, and several nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held on Friday Dec. 28, 2012 at Our Lord of Mercy Catholic Church in Hatch, N.M. from 4 p.m. to 5p.m. with a prayer vigil and rosary to follow. The funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 29, 2012 at Our Lord of Mercy Catholic Church with the Rev. Bill McCann officiating. Military honors will take place immediately after the funeral mass. Serving as pallbearers will be Mike Apodaca, John Martinez, Patrick Carbajal, Joseph Villegas, Roger Villegas and Jacob Villegas. Honorary pallbearers will be Joshua Villegas, Michael Carbajal and Jonah Madrid-Thompson. Funeral arrangements are by La Paz/Graham's Funeral Home.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Dec. 25, 2012