HARLINGEN — Family and friends remember Eloy Cano Sr. as a loving family man, respected lawman and revered justice of the peace.
Cano died at his home Wednesday night after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 79.
Cano worked as an investigator with the Harlingen Police Department, going on to serve as chief deputy of the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department and as a longtime justice of the peace.
“He was a rare, unique man,” said his son Eloy Cano Jr., who followed his father’s footsteps to the Cameron County justice of the peace bench.
“He taught me many lessons, humility being one of them,” Cano said. “The best thing my father ever did for me was take me to church. That was the glue. He was a man of God so he had all those qualities — loyalty, integrity, good attitude.”
Cano said his father kept his office open to the public.
“His open-door policy was different — he was open, period. He just enjoyed company,” Cano said. “He was humble and generous. He was special — not just to our family. I’ve heard hundreds of stories, all nice, and good deeds.”
After leaving the judge’s bench, Eloy Cano Sr. served four years as chief deputy under Sheriff Omar Lucio.
“I, my family and the sheriff’s office extend our deepest sympathies and condolences,” Lucio said. “The community lost a great leader. He was a well-respected, well-liked, community-minded individual. He had the best interests of the public.”
Lucio said he worked with Cano at the Harlingen Police Department.
“I had tremendous respect for him,” Lucio said. “We were great friends. He became an excellent investigator. He was a great partner. We solved several good cases together. He was a great worker who’d work all night long if the need arose.”
Longtime Justice of the Peace Sally Gonzalez remembered Cano as “a very straight-forward, stern judge who took his profession very seriously.”
“He was trustworthy and liked to help people in our community,” Gonzalez said. “He was a good mentor for our youth. He served our community very well.”