Albert Castillo, a longtime San Antonio police officer who worked as a private driver and security officer for 10 San Antonio mayors, died June 25. He was 68.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced Castillo’s death on social media on Friday, describing Castillo as “a kind, decent man and humble public servant” who will be “sorely missed.” No cause of death was released.

Castillo served as a police officer with the San Antonio Police Department for 33 years, having retired from the SAPD Executive Protective Services last year. Castillo acted as the private security officer for 10 different mayors, from Lila Cockrell in the late 1980s to Nirenberg.

“I got to know him pretty well since we spent a good portion of the day every day together,” Nirenberg said. “Albert was a model human being – kind to everybody he met, and a protector. Just a truly decent man.”

Castillo had been looking forward to retirement in order to spend more time with his wife, daughters, and grandchildren, Nirenberg said. Nirenberg said that while Castillo was a private man, he loved talking about his family and grandchildren. 

Nirenberg said the mayors Castillo worked with valued his discretion. Former Mayor Ed Garza said he and Castillo often joked about the idea of him writing a book on the past mayors’ secrets, in which Garza said he expected his chapter to be “very boring.” Garza said Castillo would just smile in response. 

“He had a great sense of humor, and I think he appreciated mine as well,” Garza said. 

Former Mayor Phil Hardberger said “tears were definitely shed” in his household when he and his wife, Linda, learned of Castillo’s death.

One of Hardberger’s favorite memories of Castillo is when the pair attended an event on a ranch, where Castillo asked if he could join the other security team members to shoot clay pigeons. 

“They came back at the end of the clay pigeon trip and the cowboys’ eyes were as big as silver dollars,” Hardberger said. “The cowboys said not only could [Castillo and his work partner] shoot every time the clay pigeon was shot out, but while the pieces were still shattering, they would pick the fragments they were going to hit and they’d hit those consistently.”

Castillo never needed a map and never got lost, Hardberger said. When he asked Castillo how he knew every turn and back route, Castillo responded that he drove every route before picking up the mayor – which was often very early in the morning. 

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who served as mayor from 1991 to 1995, said what he admired about Castillo was how much of a family man he was. 

“We all have great sorrow [at his death] and know what a great husband and father he was,” Wolff said.

Castillo is survived by his wife, Anna; daughters Jacquelyn Castillo, Lillian Aguilar, and Ashley Arellano; and six grandchildren. He also is survived by a brother, Victor Castillo; a sister, Yolanda Ortiz; and his father, Nasario Castillo.

Castillo was active in his church, La Primera Iglesia Bautista Fundamental Mexicana, for 60 years, according to his official obituary. As a young man Castillo served in elected youth positions, was an active local missionary, and was a part of a Christian singing group. 

He also served as the church’s Sunday School Superintendent, an usher, and president of both the church’s men’s group and the church fellowship. 

Services for Castillo were scheduled for Monday, June 29, with a visitation at 3 p.m. and a memorial service at 7 p.m. at the Primera Iglesia Bautista Fundamental Mexicana. Burial services are set for the following day at 10 a.m. at the Chapel Hill Funeral Home.

Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett reports on business and technology for the San Antonio Report.