The City of La Verne Mourns the Passing of Long Time Council Member
La Verne City Council Member Robert Rodriguez, well known for his lifetime of service and joyful spirit, passed away on July 6, 2013. He was 83 years old.
A lifelong La Verne resident, Robert graduated from Lincoln Elementary School (later renamed Roynon Elementary School), Bonita High School, and earned both his bachelor’s (’65) and master’s degree (’90) from the University of La Verne.
Robert’s lifetime of public service began in the United States Army from 1951 to 1953. He served in the 2nd Infantry in the Korean Conflict. He earned the Korea Conflict Medal with one Bronze Star, the United Nations Service Medal, and the Combat Infantry Medal.
In 1953 Robert became the first Mexican-American police officer hired by the Pomona Police Department. During his twenty-seven years of honorable service he worked patrol, gang detail, detective bureau, community liaison, and a variety of positions before retiring at the rank of Lieutenant. He then joined the University of La Verne as Director of Administrative Services from 1983 to 1996.
In 1982, Robert was elected to the La Verne City Council. His continuous thirty-one years of service earned him the distinction of the longest serving elected official in the City’s history. Robert’s community service included past positions on the Board of Directors for David and Margaret Home for Girls and Le Roy Haynes Center, and the Board of Directors of Brethren Hillcrest Homes. He was the representative to the California League of Cities and California Joint Powers Insurance Authority. More than anything, Robert wanted to ensure that the residents of La Verne were proud of the community and received quality services. He listened to the concerns of every resident who approached him and helped whenever possible.
“Robert loved this City and was honored to serve the City. He often joked that he was the ‘self-proclaimed Pride of La Verne,’ but in reality it was very true,” said La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick. “No one epitomized the ‘Pride of La Verne’ like Robert. We take great pride in his extraordinary example of selfless service, unwavering dedication, and good-natured spirit.”
Former Mayor Jon Blickenstaff, echoed similar sentiments. “It was my sincere pleasure to sit next to Robert at the dais for twenty-seven years and to witness first-hand his dedication to the community,” said Blickenstaff. “It showed in every decision he made. He cared about this community and wanted to be part of upholding the traditions and making it the special place it is today.”
Robert is preceded in death by his parents, Eliseo and Concha Rodriguez, and two sisters, Betty and Alice. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Fran; their five children, Jeff, Roberta, Jennifer, Lisa, and Lynda; eight grandchildren; and siblings Genevieve, Jay, and Richard. Funeral services will be held at the La Verne Church of the Brethren on Thursday, July 11, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow at the La Verne Community Center, 3680 D Street in La Verne. A private interment will be held for family only at the La Verne Cemetery. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to the La Verne Veterans Memorial, care of City of La Verne, 3660 D Street, La Verne, CA 91750.
For more Information contact:
Jeannette A. Vagnozzi
Assistant to the City Manager
City of La Verne