Volunteer Chaplain Loses COVID Battle

Posted: February 12, 2021

NorthBay Healthcare Volunteer Chaplain Ricardo Simon Villarreal died Jan. 27 at NorthBay Medical Center after complications from COVID-19.

Ricardo had been an official NorthBay volunteer chaplain the past four years, but prior to that he had been providing spiritual support to hospital patients at both NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital for at least two decades.

He often was visited hospital patients who were parishioners from his church, or family, friends, neighbors of his parishioners, basically anyone who requested a prayer or blessing, and at any hour of the day or night.

“Since his death, I have heard from hospital staff about the many weddings he officiated, the children of NorthBay employees whom he dedicated or baptized, and the funerals he presided over,” said longtime friend Yolanda Nunez-Bonomo, manager of Social Services. “It touches my heart to hear these stories, and the great impact he had on our NorthBay employees and patients.”

According to his family, he was called the “Minute Man,” because any time NorthBay called him, he was here in a minute.

“He had a heart for all people, and served humbly,” said Yolanda. “No one and nothing were too insignificant for him.”

Ricardo is survived by his wife, Aixa, four children (son Abner is a former NorthBay employee), 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army and the Air Force.

After military retirement, Ricardo’s career began as a Senior MTA in the mental health department at California Medical Facility in Vacaville. Ricardo was also on staff at Valley Church, and was the after-hours emergency pastor.   

Services will be scheduled in March.

 

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