Lazaro Gutierrez Morones dies at 91
–Lazaro Gutierrez Morones joined his wife Erminia Estrada Morones in heaven on November 26, 2018. Lazaro was 91 years old at the time of his passing at Annette’s Lodge in Paso Robles. Lazaro was born on December 14, 1926 in Safford, Arizona to Refugio and Josefa Morones. In April 1945 he was drafted into the army and stationed at Fort MacArthur where he worked in military transportation under the 36th Transportation Corps Service. He was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal before being honorably discharged on Nov. 4 1946.
Lazaro married his beloved Erminia on July 18, 1951 and together they lived a very full and prosperous life. Right after being discharged from the army Lazaro began a trucking business before transitioning into auto body repair and painting. While working in the auto body industry he began working in farm labor contracting on the side. With the guidance of Frances Nelson, Lazaro expanded his side business, earned his contracting license and turned Farm Labor Contracting into a full time career that shaped his and Erminia’s future.
In the mid 70s to 80’s Lazaro found great success as a farm labor contractor and worked for one of the largest wineries in the area, Estrella River Winery as their Foreman. Under his guidance blocks of grapes were planted that attracted professors from UC Davis, ultimately influencing their teaching methods and curriculum. Following his time at Estrella, Lazaro continued to develop his contracting business and made it a family affair by having Erminia oversee his payroll and often recruited some of his 9 children for assistance.
Throughout his time as a farm labor contractor, Lazaro had several high profile clients including Baseball Commissioner Peter Uberroth while he continued to assist many local winemakers including his good friend and future son- in- law, Tobin James. In 1987 Lazaro provided Tobin James with 6 tons of grapes, which the now well-known winemaker credits as one of the moments that helped launch Tobin James Cellars.
Lazaro’s expertise ranged well beyond grapes. From apples to almonds, walnuts to sugar beets, his wide range of knowledge and keen business sense afforded him the foresight to prosper in the agriculture industry all the while leaving a legacy of agricultural passion and knowledge to his co-workers, clients and family. His love and devotion for agriculture and his family will be greatly missed.
Lazaro was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Erminia Estrada Morones; parents; Refugio and Josefa Morones; son, Edward Morones; daughter, Diane Morones. He is survived by his three sons: Paul (Cheryl), Gene (Vicky) and Lazaro Morones; four daughters: Monica (Tim) Martin, Carolina (August) Harden, Ermie (Tobin) Morones, and Jennifer (Shawn) Morris; as well as 23 grand- children; and 24 great-grand- children.
A rosary service will be held Friday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. at St. Rose Church and viewing will be held from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home in Paso Robles. A Funeral Mass will be held in honor of Lazaro at Mission San Miguel at 9 a.m. with a Celebration of Life following.