José Pearce de Azevedo, OBE, former British Honorary Consul in the Algarve, who died on Monday aged 83, has been laid to rest in the cemetery in his hometown of Portimão.
Four days after his admission to the Barlavento Hospital and having been diagnosed with a lung infection, Azevedo died peacefully with his wife Zefita by his bedside.
A great many people from all walks of life attended the funeral service in the Igreja do Colégio, Portimão, on Wednesday. The principal mourners were his wife, their three children, Patricia, Pedro and Marta, and four grandchildren.
A charismatic and colourful personality, Azevedo contributed greatly to the Algarve region, and in particular to the British community here. The British Ambassador, Jill Gallard, paid warm tribute.
His family’s close association with the British began with his grandfather, Manuel Teixeira Gomes, who spent 11 years as Portugal’s ambassador to London before becoming the seventh President of the Republic of Portugal in 1923.
Manuel Teixeira Gomes’ father had been a consul in the Algarve, representing Belgium. Both Azevedo’s father and paternal grandfather served as British vice consuls here.
Having graduated from the University of Lisbon in economics and finance, he was appointed British vice consul in 1965 at the age of 35. In 1974 he became full honorary consul and was of outstanding help to British expatriates during the turbulent period following the 25th April revolution. For this he was awarded an OBE.
Azevedo’s dynamic wife, Zefita, joined him professionally as pro-consul in 1983. He lovingly referred to her as “my field marshal.” They served together with a small but dedicated team in the Portimão Consulate until their retirement in 2000.
In addition to his consular role, he served as the first president of the Algarve Tourist Board and as head of the Portimão port authority.
For many years he played a leading role in the British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce based in Lisbon and the Anglo-Portuguese Society in London. As a long-time member of the Royal British Club in Lisbon, he was also an honorary president of the 41 Club in the Algarve and a founder member of the Association of Foreign Property Owners in Portugal.
The British Ambassador, Jill Gallard, said: ‘I am deeply saddened by José Azevedo’s death. He was a dear and loyal friend of the UK and he will be warmly remembered by me and by many of his former colleagues at the British Consulates in Portimão and Lisbon, and at the Embassy.
“Joe, as he was fondly known, was our Honorary Consul in Portimão for over 30 years and we are extremely grateful for his long and devoted years of service to the British Foreign Office.
“He helped British citizens in distress, supported the wider British community in the Algarve and made a key contribution towards increasing British tourism to the region. Joe fulfilled his role with pride and commitment, but he also had a great sense of humour and was a devoted family man.
“His OBE was a well-deserved award and he will be forever remembered by the many thousands of British citizens who came into contact with him during his vast career as Honorary British Consul in Portimão.“Our thoughts are with his wife and family at this difficult time.”
With a photograph of his grandfather in Portimão Museum