Tribute services set for Gilroy’s No. 1 chief

Gilroy's police department was named after the C.J. Laizure,

Funeral ceremonies for C.J. Laizure, the youngest chief in the
state when he was hired by Gilroy to fill the police chief position
created by the new city charter in 1960, will be held at 10 a.m.
Monday morning in front of the police station at 7301 Hanna Street
between Sixth and Seventh streets.
Funeral ceremonies for C.J. Laizure, the youngest chief in the state when he was hired by Gilroy to fill the police chief position created by the new city charter in 1960, will be held at 10 a.m. Monday morning in front of the police station at 7301 Hanna Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

Prior to this, a procession will commence at 9:30 a.m. at Habing Family Funeral Home on 129 Fourth St. and will follow a route past

Lizarran Restaurant, the original city hall and police station at 7400 Monterey St. It will also pass the old police station Laizure designed at 7370 Rosanna St. before ending up at current police headquarters on Hanna Street. The new building, which opened in 2005, is named after Laizure.

At 11 a.m., the procession will return to return to Habing where Laizure’s remains will be cremated. A reception at the Veterans Memorial Building on 74 West Sixth St. will follow, according to City of Gilroy Chaplain Malcolm McPhail, who confirmed the event is open to the public.

Known as “Jim” to some of his co-workers and friends, the local icon of Garlic Capital yesteryear who served as police chief for 20 years was admitted Saturday afternoon to Saint Louise Regional Hospital, where he passed at about 6 a.m. Monday morning.

He was 81.

GPD Chief Denise Turner lauds Laizure for turning the GPD into a professional organization, as he implemented a number of programs and practices that helped shape infrastructure and propel the department’s modernization.

“It went from being more of a very small, marshal agency to a full-blown police department,” she said.

Laizure is survived by his four children, Lynn Noto, 57; of Gilroy, Rob Laizure, 55; of Orange County, Karen Laizure, 52; of El Dorado and Chuck Laizure, 51; of Clovis.

Karen describes the former police chief as a doting father and husband who took care of his wife, Betty, for many yeas after she become completely paralyzed from multiple sclerosis.

Because Laizure didn’t think anyone else could take as good as care of Betty as he did, Karen recalled “the last five years he refused to leave her.”

“He has just been very sad and missing her ever since she left. I think he’s happy to join her, frankly.”

Karen said the two met in a roller skating rink in Kansas. Though her father was “kind of a showoff,” his soft side around children caught Betty’s eye, his daughter said. The two were engaged just three weeks later and were married for 56 years.

“He was a really devoted family man,” Karen recalls. “He was the dad that ran behind your bicycle down the street to teach you to ride a two-wheeler. I’m going to miss him very much.”

Services for Jim Laizure

– A viewing will take place between 5 and 8 p.m. Sunday at Habing Family Funeral Home, 129 Fourth St.

– A formal procession will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Habing Family Funeral Home and wind past the city’s two former police stations before ending at the new station on Hanna St.

– Memorial ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. Monday at 7301 Hanna St., the new police hedquarters?

– After Laizure’s remains are returned to the funeral home, a reception will take place at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall on 74 West Sixth St.

Call City of Gilroy Chaplain Malcolm McPhail at (408) 427-5947 for more details.

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