By Pete Banda
There is definitely no shortage of stories when it comes to the life of the Honorable Jude Lupe Ayala. From his heroics
as a police officer, which include jumping into a Resaca to save a drowning man and running into a burning building to save a young child, to serving his country as a Marine, Ayala was one of the most respected and beloved men in all of San Benito. Despite his death this past Saturday, February 25, it seems Ayala’s smile is what will stay in the minds of most San Benito citizens.
“I’ve been so overwhelmed with the stories that people are coming up to me and telling me,” said Lisa Ayala, Lupe’s wife. “There were so many stories of him helping all these people, and these were stories that he had never told me. He didn’t do these things for the recognition or glory, he did them out of the goodness of his heart and that’s who my husband was… someone who gave his heart and soul to everything he did.”
One of those individuals that he helped, 35-year-old Victor Garcia, was present at Ayala’s funeral and recalled the time just a few words changed his life around.
“Growing up, I was always getting in trouble,” said Garcia. “I’ve been arrested in so many different places and for a lot of different reasons, but Judge Ayala was the only Judge to ever actually talk to me before sending me away. He gave me a pretty long speech about the way I was living my life and how I still had a chance to turn things around… he could have kept me in jail for a real long time, but he worked with me on my bond and I have not been arrested since then… that was three years ago.”
According to one of Lupe’s daughters,Cecilia Espinoza, that kind of kindness and understanding is what her Dad was all about.
“Of course growing up Dad worked a lot, but we always looked up to him and he taught us all well,” said Espinoza. “If I had to point to the main things he taught us, it would be perseverance and kindness. My Dad treated each person with the exact same respect and he taught us to do the same… We are the people we are today because of my father.”
Both Lisa and Lupe Ayala had become Associate pastors at Faith Pleases God Church a few month back and Lisa credits their 33 years of marriage to their faith and relationship with their Lord.
One story that stuck out the most to Lisa was a tale from a mother who says Lupe saved her daughter’s without even knowing it.
“I had a lady come up to the other day and tell me the story of how Lupe saved her daughter,” said Lisa. “The daughter had become an addict and was close to dying… Lupe was able to get her into a rehab center and their daughter was able to recover. The lady looked at me and said, ‘I know your husband saved my daughter’s life and I just wanted to thank you.”
There is no doubt that Guadalupe Ayala left behind one of the most full and genuine legacies in all of San Benito. It’s a legacy Espinoza believes can be continued through the way his family continues on.
“Dad broke a lot of barriers, not only in his own life, but with the people, community, and county, and we all need to continue to strive for that,” said Espinoza. “We need to unite and press forward into our greatest potential, serving each other through kindness, patience, and appreciation, all of which dad did with so many people… So yes, I feel a need to continue spreading his legacy.”
From his infectious, and seemingly never ending, smile to his persistence to beat cancer on four separate occasions before finally succumbing to it, Lupe Ayala will hold a strong position in the hearts and minds of many in the San Benito community.
Mar 02 2017
Farewell to a hero: Family, Community remember the life of Judge Ayala
By Pete Banda
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