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Nicolas Jose Barro
March 1, 1920 - December 23, 2023
Pepe Barro, or “Pipo”, as called by those dearest to his heart, left this life peacefully on December 23, 2023, just shy of 104 years old after a life well lived. Born in Espiñaredo, A Coruña, Spain on March 1, 1920, to the late Jose Barro and Toribia Cabarcos, Pepe fought in the Spanish Civil War for six years from the young age of 17. He left Spain due to the economic destruction following the war to find a new life of opportunity in Cuba.
After sailing to Cuba as a young man, he had the joy of living in Cuba in its heyday and meeting the love of his life, Maria Aurelia Gomez whom he married in 1957. The two were born in adjacent provinces in Spain but met an ocean away. Together they embarked on a 66-year marriage creating their family of two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren who adored and respected him for his fortitude, dedication and love.
Pepe built a life in Cuba and became a successful businessman. He was well respected by colleagues, owned a butcher shop, and took pleasure in driving his beloved 1957 Chevrolet Impala. Prior to being awarded the right to leave Cuba, he was forced to work the sugar cane fields due to the Castro communist regime. Pepe and his family left Cuba with the clothes on their backs in 1968.
Upon arriving in Miami, he took to the streets to find work and start a new life at the age of 48 with nothing to his name but the love of his wife and two small daughters. After moving to NY, Pepe worked two full time jobs at a bodega in Washington Heights and as a butcher at the iconic Waldorf Astoria. Little by little, he acquired enough to buy two small businesses in Newark’s Ironbound, along with his business partner, the late Luis Martinez. In his last days, Pepe recounted how they started as neighbors in Havana and ended as brothers, making the Martinez’s chosen family. In 1974, Martinez & Barro, Inc. purchased La Copa Supermarket in Elizabeth, NJ which in its day was one of the largest and most successful Spanish supermarkets in Elizabeth. Pepe was able to expand into real estate. He was able to re-establish himself once again and provide for his family, showing the resiliency and spirit that he maintained till his final breath.
A few years after retiring at the age of 69, Pepe and Aurelia moved to Mountainside from Elizabeth where he resided until his death, passing away at home surrounded by his beloved family. He is survived by his loving wife Aurelia, daughters Marisol Garcia (Alvaro) of Mountainside, Maribel Romaine (Neil) of Oviedo FL, grandchildren Jennifer Martinez (Scott Coulston), Jessica Garcia, Brian Garcia (Myranda Floyd), Kate Torres, Grace Torres (Anthony Nuñez), Emma Torres and great-grandsons, Nicholas Martinez and Julian Torres.
He is also survived by his siblings in-law, Filomena (Antonio), Asuncion, Javier (Encina), Mari Carmen (Angel), Celsa (Jose), Antonio (Tere), Manolo (Salud), Luis (Marisa), numerous nieces/nephews, great nieces/nephews and his best friend, Henry, who comforted him in his final days as only a dog could do. He is predeceased by all his siblings Francisco, Antonio, Juan, Manuel, Encarnacion, Josefa, Edelmira, Hilario, Juanita Barro and siblings in-law, Jesus and Pepe Gomez.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pepe’s memory to the Mountainside Rescue Squad 1399 US-22, Mountainside, NJ 07092 http://www.ems22.com/donate or to a charity of your choice.