August 9, 2011
Victor Enrique Lara, L.A. Federation employee dies at 40
Victor Enrique Lara brought light, joy and honor to this world. He honored, loved and cared for his family and for our community. In so doing, he honored God.
Victor was born in El Salvador and came to Los Angeles in 1984. He attended El Camino High School and came to work at The Jewish Federation in 1991. Victor began his career as a parking attendant, then he joined the security team, and more recently he worked for central services.
Victor was a warm, engaging man who always had a smile on his face. I know he was well trained and excelled at his job. In my experience, however, he simply could not be anything other than what he was — one of the kindest, most decent people God put on this earth. He never, ever got angry. He was always cheerful and upbeat. We have a word in Yiddish to describe Victor. He was a mensch — a good, decent person who genuinely loved and cared for his fellow human beings.
When I visited Victor in his home, I was touched by the photos and plaques that adorned the walls of the apartment. There is a certificate of appreciation for his courageous actions in response to the shooting at the North Valley Jewish Community Center. There is a plaque acknowledging his distinguished work when The Federation moved to and dedicated the Goldsmith Center.
Victor was justifiably proud of his loyal service to the Jewish community. Victor was also determined; when he set a goal, he worked hard to achieve it. He wore a Jewish star, a Magen David, each and every day when he came to work. He served people — Jews and non-Jews alike — with honor, love and respect.
Victor cared deeply about his community, our community, and for his beloved family. He was a loving son to Rhina, son-in-law to Carmen, and brother to Miguel and Rhina. He was a devoted husband to Lourdes and adoring father to Samantha, Lorena, Jennifer and Stacy. Victor was happiest when he was home with his loved ones, listening to music (Menudo was a favorite), watching cop shows and scary movies, spending time with Lourdes and the girls.
The walls of the Lara home are filled with photos of Victor’s beautiful family. And there’s one more plaque on the wall — a certificate of appreciation presented to Lourdes by the transplant team of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. When Victor fell ill and needed a transplant, Lourdes donated one of her kidneys to save her husband’s life. Lourdes, you were Victor’s pillar of strength and support, and we honor and thank you for being such a devoted wife and caregiver.
The Bible tells us that the High Priest Aaron died b’hor ha-har, at the top of the mountain. Like Aaron, Victor died at the peak of his life. He died as he had lived, with courage and dignity, surrounded by his loving family. We thank God that Victor’s pain has passed and he is now at peace. Yehi zikhro barukh — may his memory be a blessing. Amen.
Contributions can be made to the Victor Lara Memorial Fund c/o The Jewish Federation, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.