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A family’s quest to find a lost father ends in Madera

For The Madera Tribune

The family of Pastor Lemus stand near a marker that indicates where he was buried. He was killed in 1947, and the family didn’t know where he was buried until they gathered at the gravesite on March 3 at Arbor Vitae Cemetery.


When 80-year-old Angelica Lemus Villafuerte stood over her father’s grave on March 3, in Madera’s Arbor Vitae Cemetery, she knew her family’s decades-old mystery of what had happened to her father, a farmworker killed in 1947, had come to an end.

“Es un milagro,” Angelica whispered in Spanish to her father, who had spent the last three months of his life working in orchards and orange groves around the small Central Valley town.

“To know where my grandfather was buried was very exciting,” Angelica’s son, Andres Zavala, 45, said. “It’s exciting to see my mom so happy to meet with her father after all these years.” 



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