Heart transplant recipient's visitation, funeral to be held in Victoria

July 27, 2010 at 2:27 a.m.

The Victoria family whose son's heart was transplanted into a local chef has honored the recipient's wishes to be buried in Victoria.

Kevin Nurse, who moved to Victoria from New York City in January to pursue his and his heart donor's dream of becoming an entrepreneur in cooking, died Friday after experiencing heart complications.

His death was hard on the donor family and his large circle of friends, said Cecilia Zarate, the mother of Daniel Zarate Jr., whose heart Nurse received four years ago.

"I hurt so much," Zarate said in a breaking sob. "Losing Kevin, I also know my son's heart also stopped."

Since the donation, Zarate and her husband, Daniel Sr., have grown close to the man who aspired to keep their son's spirit alive.

Nurse left his job as a UPS driver to become a chef and moved to Victoria to be closer to his donor family.

The Zarates have even paid for the funeral expenses because it's something they had to do, Cecilia Zarate said.

"He came to do what Daniel always dreamed about doing. He was very straightforward about what he wanted to do," he said about her son and Nurse.

Back at the Mustang Bar and Grill, the circle of friends and the bond is still broken, said Adriane Orta, friend and former co-worker.

Memories of listening to rhythm and blues music in the kitchen and the advice Nurse would give Orta still comfort her through his death.

"What will I miss about Kevin?" Orta asked. "Peeking over that square hole into the kitchen and seeing him cooking and dancing, it's not there anymore. He's not there."

The Zarates have set up a Kevin Nurse Memorial Fund through First Victoria National Bank.

Donations can be made at any one of the bank's locations.

"Kevin helped me in so many ways," Daniel Jr.'s mother said. "I'm very proud of Kevin."

Part 1: Lessons in giving

Part 2: Daughter provides will to live

Part 3: Sharing more than a heart

New York City heart recipient follows donor's heart's desire



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