Passed Away On: December 2, 2022

Manuel Rolando Villarreal, 87, a native of México and longtime resident of Hollister, California, passed peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours of December 2, 2022, with family by his side.

He will be remembered fondly as a devoted husband, loving father, uncle, grandfather, and loyal friend to many. Manuel was a man with unequaled practical skills; the ability to repair anything mechanical, plant and harvest crops, break and train horses, and hunt from the saddle.

Manuel was the eldest son of eight children born to Marcelo Villarreal and Beatriz González, in Hacienda El Alamo in the northeast state of Nuevo León, México. He emigrated to the United States in his late teens, crossing into Texas. He later worked at a cattle ranch in Nevada, driving herds on horseback, consistently sending money home to support his younger siblings. In his early twenties, he moved to California and began working at the Fairview Packing cannery, later Tri Valley Growers in Hollister. He became a United States citizen in 1966. Manuel worked at the cannery for thirty-five years as a member of Teamsters Local 890, retiring as a foreman in 1992. It was there that he met his wife of 61 years, Rosie Elias. The couple lived and raised two children on Powell Street.

In 1975, the Villarreals bought land on Comstock Road, and established a small ranch, setting up irrigation and building a barn of his own design. In his retirement Manuel spent much of his time there, caring for his horses, working the acreage to provide feed, and hosting family and friends for barbecues, and an annual Fourth of July campout.

Manuel made every sacrifice to ensure that his children pursued their education. Sending his son and daughter to college was a source of tremendous pride for him. Both went on to earn graduate degrees and professional certificates in their fields.

He adored, and was adored by his five grandchildren, and he took great pleasure in their accomplishments, encouraging them to do their best, particularly in academics. He relished every opportunity to attend their sporting events, dance recitals and high school, and college graduations.

Comforted by a lifetime of memories are his wife, Rosie, Son, Manuel Jr. of Morgan Hill and wife Catherine, daughter, Sandra McSweeney, and husband, Dan, of San José. Grandchildren, Erica, Steven, Anthony, Jonathan, and Sophia, his older sister, Rosaena Flores of Hollister, younger sisters, Beatriz Perez and Ludivina Villarreal of Texas, and Eliza Cervantes of Southern California, and dozens of nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by three younger brothers, Reginaldo, Romualdo, and Marcelo. He will be missed by Sacred Heart Parish, where he was a member.

Funeral Services will be held as follows:

December 15 Visitation/Viewing: 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with the Rosary at 6 pm at Grunnagle-Ament-Nelson Funeral Home, 870 San Benito Street, Hollister.

December 16 Mass at 11:00 a.m. at St. Benedict Catholic Church, 1200 Fairview Road, Hollister followed by a procession to Calvary Cemetery, 1100 Hillcrest Road, Hollister.

A Celebration of Manuel’s life will take place at The Barrel Room at Léal Vineyards, 300 Maranatha Drive, Hollister.