It’s hard to believe two years have passed since my father was so brutally taken from us. He was born in Santa Maria in 1946, and shortly after moved to Santa Barbara, where he was raised. He grew up in a loving family consisting of his mother, Irene, and father, Frank Sr., along with seven siblings. In his early twenties, my father learned the trade of furniture upholstery, which he practiced for at least 35 years. He worked for various upholstery shops over the years but worked for Renga Brothers for at least two decades, and he was considered one of the best in Santa Barbara.
Pancho had many beautiful fish aquariums with many exotic fish, both fresh water and salt water. There were also dogs, iguanas, and snakes in his home. His wife, Kathy, told him he could open a pet store. Pancho also had a passion for motorcycles and Austin Healy cars, which he would build from the frame up. His blue 1954 Chevy truck, which he owned for at least 25 years, was passed down to me, and sooner or later I’ll get it restored in his honor.
Not only did Pancho have a talent for building motorcycles and cars, he could also cook! His specialty was veal scaloppini, which to this day none of us can make the way he did, even though he showed us how. And of course he always had to have white rice with anything he ate.
He had a look about him that would make you think he was a “tough guy,” but once you got to know him, you would quickly realize what a loving and caring person he was. His sense of humor is what his family and close friends will always remember. He was always making everyone laugh or smile, and you never knew if he was just kidding around or being serious.
His death has opened my eyes to understand that we need to make time for family and friends and let people know how much we love them, daily.
My dad was a good man, a loving man, a family man. He helped Kathy raise her three children as if they were his own. She loves him and misses him every day. Pancho is in our hearts, and we have great memories. We are all blessed by the love that he shared with us. It is sad that his new great-grandchildren will never experience the love he gave to his family.
I didn’t even get to say good bye.
On September 13, it will be two years since my dad’s death. On that horrible night, he and his wife had just dropped off their great-grandchild. Two men waited at the end of the driveway. A verbal confrontation took place, and then my dad was shot in the neck at point blank range as his sat in his car right next to his wife.
People say that time heals, but his wife says, “To see your husband die before your eyes is something that will stay with your forever”.
The murder occurred six months before the Luis Linares murder, but we still wait for a trial date. Court was finally scheduled to begin September 8 but has been postponed. We were told the trial of the boy accused of killing Linares takes precedence because he is a minor. Murder is an ugly thing, and we understand what these families have to go through, but the frustration of continuance after continuance has greatly added to our grief. When people ask what sentence the killer got, they can’t believe it when we tell them there hasn’t even been a trial yet.
Although it won’t bring my Dad back, we’d like to see justice served. Our family has been trying to be patient, but I had to take this opportunity to express my strong disappointment with the court system. I know that sometimes there are legitimate excuses, but the defense still wasn’t prepared to proceed after one and a half years. The last continuance seemed to me like a bad joke. It was continued through the summer because one attorney was going on a sabbatical, and the other one was going to help at a football camp. We wait in our grief, with no closure in sight.
In closing, I want to mention that the man that shot my dad had been released from jail that very same morning, after doing only a portion of his sentence. It seems to me that someone’s background needs to be considered before they’re released without serving a majority of their time. He gets released, drinks and does drugs all day, and kills a man that he doesn’t even know. What kind of person is that? When will justice be served?