Leonard “Lee” Vasquez
August 17, 1929 – May 9, 2015
‘Lee’ Vasquez passed away peacefully at his home in Calipatria, CA on Saturday May 9th, 2015. Lee was born in Los Angeles, CA on August 17, 1929, the son of Leonardo and Rosa Vasquez. Lee was raised in Niland on a small farm his parents owned and operated. He attended Calipatria High School and graduated from Brawley High where he was a star local 3 sport athlete making the All Valley Football Team multiple seasons.
After high school he joined the U.S. Navy serving during Korean War. He was honorably discharged in mid 1955. Later that year on September 24th, 1955 he married his childhood sweetheart Lupe Quiroz. In the same year Lee and Lupe opened Starlite Market, along with Lee’s sister Alice and brother-in-law Stan Swanger. The store was a mainstay in the community for over 30 year.
Lee was a key member of St. Patrick’s Church in Calipatria where he was an usher, lector and deacon over a 50 year period. He was also involved in the building of the new church and later the church hall. He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus for many years. Lee and Lupe were strong on education, having all 6 of their children earn college degrees. Both went back to college late in life and earned degrees as well.
He was a strong supporter of the community, elected to serve on the Calipatria City Council for many years in the late 60’s and into the 70’s and then again in 2000. During those years he also served as Mayor for several terms. During his last term on the City Council he also serve as a member the California League of Cities. He was elected to the Calipatria School District where he served for many years and in the 70’s was appointed by first term governor Jerry Brown to the California Mid Winter Fair Board of Directors.
Lee is survived by his wife, Lupe Vasquez, sisters: Margaret Ulloa, and Alice Swanger and brother-in-law Stan Swanger. Daughters: Francine Taylor and Rosina Brenner, Sons: Leonard, Rick, Mark and Jacob. His son-in-laws: Geno Taylor, Mike Brenner, and daughter-in-laws: Susie Switzer and Diana Espinoza Vasquez. His grandchildren, Siena Vasquez, Ian Vasquez, Andre Vasquez, Greyson Taylor, Victoria Taylor, Mayella Vasquez, Noah Taylor, Jordan Vasquez, Camilla Vasquez, Blake Brenner and Ysabel Brenner. Nieces and nephews, Roseanne Swanger Coronado, husband Juan and Michelle Downs Standiford, husband Dan and daughter Danielle. Care taker Yesseth Mendez and out of area related families: The Leons, Arces, Maganas, Sonokis and Storemans.
Viewing and Rosary will be at Frye Chapel and Mortuary in Brawley, CA on Sunday May 17th, 2015 from 6 pm to 9pm. Funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Calipatria, CA on Monday May 18th, 2015 at 9 am. Burial procession to Riverview Cemetery following mass. Reception at St. Patrick’s Church Hall. In lieu of flowers the family asks to make donations to St. Patrick’s Church.