HAYWARD — Ernesto Nava, the last living son of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (José Doroteo Arango Arámbula), died of natural causes Dec. 31. He was 94.
Nava never met his father and didn’t learn his identity until he was 8 years old. He was told by his mother never to reveal the secret, as Villa had numerous enemies who might have wanted to harm him or his family, said Ernesto Nava’s son, Sam Nava.
About 15 years ago, Ernesto Nava told his family about their ancestry. Shortly after, on a trip to his home town of Durango, Mexico, word leaked out that Villa’s son was in town.
“It exploded,” Sam Nava said. “It became a really big thing. We would go down there once a year, and they would plan all these events for us to go to.”
Ernesto Nava also made local appearances at churches and schools until about five years ago, when his health began to decline.