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The Villages
Friday, August 12, 2022

Dagoberto Zapatero

Dagoberto Zapatero
Dagoberto Zapatero

Dagoberto Zapatero’s had many significant accomplishments, including being a husband, father, grandfather, friend, and cook for anyone lucky enough to share a table with him. Papi, as we called him, died on December 29, at The Villages Hospital, in Florida.  He was 86 years old and died from complications of a surgical procedure. When not in the kitchen, you’d often find him in his garden, growing bananas, papayas, oranges, lemons, plums, apples, pears, and countless other vegetables and flowers to keep him entertained and to share with friends in the form of fresh fruits or preserves.  His love of gardening kept him happy, and earned the Zapateros accolades from the Villages Garden Club on two occasions.  Their home was also known for their Christmas lights display until his wife, Maria, passed in 2010. Dagoberto was born on his family farm in Victoria de las Tunas, in Cuba, in 1935 to Sergio and Zoila Zapatero.  He earned an associate’s degree in accounting and married his love, Maria, in 1960.  The couple had two boys, Dagoberto and Jose.  In 1966, Papi’s intense desire for freedom and economic opportunity propelled him to abandon Cuba and immigrate to the United States.  Our family settled in the town of Freeport on Long Island.  Dad loved America and took pride in becoming a naturalized citizen.  Two days after arriving in America, he was employed as a baker at Holiday Bakery.  A position he held for about ten years before he rode the coattails of his entrepreneurial wife and launched a successful career in retail until the couple retired to The Villages in 2002.  They realized their American dream The Zapatero’s strong work ethic and belief in education were instilled in their family, even as they struggled to learn English.  Dagoberto was very proud of his sons and grandchildren telling as much to anyone who would listen.  Dag is a dentist in Virginia Beach, Virginia, while his other son, Jose, is a medical doctor and the CMO of a hospital system in Alexandria, LA.  Papi beamed during the wedding of his granddaughter Caroline and her husband, Oliver Silzer.  His grandson Zack is graduating from medical school at The University of Pennsylvania and will specialize in reconstructive plastic surgery.  While these are beautiful accomplishments, Papi’s greatest gift to his children and grandchildren the blessing of knowing that you were unconditionally loved.

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Stories in and around The Villages, Florida

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The Villages, Florida

Letters to the Editor
Opinions submitted by residents in and around The Villages

Windmill and water tower weren’t built to withstand Florida weather

A Village of Dunedin resident writes that it is pretty obvious that the windmill and water tower at Brownwood were constructed with materials that never had a chance of surviving Florida weather. Read his Letter to the Editor.

Spend the money on amenities not windmill and water tower

In a Letter to the Editor, a couple from the Leyton Villas writes that the money to be spent on the replacement of the windmill and water tower at Brownwood would be better spent on improved amenities.

Morse family can pay for windmill and water tower

A Village of Monarch Grove resident, in Letter to the Editor, contends that the Morse family can pay for the replacement of the windmill and water tower at Brownwood Paddock Square.

Colors add a breath of fresh air

A resident of the Historic Side of The Villages says a home with controversial colors is actually a breath of fresh air. Read her Letter to the Editor.

President Trump’s home invasion

A Village of Buttonwood resident sounds off on the FBI raid at the home of former President Trump. Read his Letter to the Editor.

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The Villages, Florida