|Birth: ||Aug. 27, 1913|
La Habana, Cuba
|Death: ||Jan. 14, 1997|
Miami Herald, The (FL)
January 15, 1997
JOSE 'LOLO' VILLALOBOS, LONGTIME MAYOR OF CUBAN TOWN
ANA ACLE and PATTY FERNANDEZ-ROCHA , Herald Staff
When he was mayor of Guanabacoa, Cuba, Jose "Lolo" Villalobos won friends by taking the time to talk to and help constituents.
His popularity spanned many decades and carried over when many Cubans took exile in Dade County. Even here, after nearly 60 years, Villalobos frequently was stopped by those who remembered his efforts during his 22-year mayoral tenure.
Today, many of those friends will pay their last tributes to Villalobos, who died in his Miami home Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. He was 83.
"My grandfather always made time for everybody -- that is the lasting impression I take from him," said his grandson, state Rep. J. Alex Villalobos, R-West Dade. "He'd stop and hear them out, and he had a great memory." Alex Villalobos told a story about his grandfather's popularity even in remote areas. He remembered canoeing with his father, Jose "Pepe" Villalobos, one day in Arcadia. The two stopped the canoe near a grassy lot to eat lunch when a man approached them with his dogs to shoo them off the property. But when the man heard their last name was Villalobos, he asked if they were relatives of Jose "Lolo" Villalobos. Turns out, the man had befriended Villalobos when he was stationed in Cuba.
Villalobos was born in San Antonio de Rio Blanco del Norte in 1913. He moved to Guanabacoa at the age of 10. His father, Plutarco Villalobos, was the nation's treasurer.
Villalobos studied medicine at the University of Havana, but stopped two classes short of graduating. He decided to become a politician.
He was elected mayor of Guanabacoa in 1940.
His accomplishments included keeping the city's budget balanced, funding the construction of an aqueduct and assisting blue-collar workers in their quest to buy a home. He did this by setting up a system of profit shares and assured mortgage funds.
Some folks will remember Blue Flag Day. Once every year, Villalobos would raise a blue flag to declare that the city had a balanced budget.
In 1962, shortly after Fidel Castro took the island, Villalobos fled to Miami. He worked as a taxi driver for nine years. Then he dabbled in real estate and eventually returned to politics as an assistant to then-Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, who later became a county commissioner. Most recently, Villalobos worked as an assistant to Metro-Dade Commissioner Bruce Kaplan.
Villalobos always remained active behind the scenes in politics, whether or not he was campaigning.
"He made it a point always to go to all the precincts and run into everybody," Alex Villalobos said. "He believed that voting was one of the most important duties that we as citizens have."
Villalobos is survived by his wife, Yolanda; sons Jose, Miguel, Carlos and Alejandro; two brothers, Miguel Angel Villalobos and Mayo Villalobos; two sisters, Estrella Nogueira Villalobos and Irma Torano Villalobos; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Woodlawn Park North Cemetery and Mausoleum
Created by: JR
Record added: Jan 22, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13097540
Dennis Alan Deel
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