PALMDALE — Former council member and community supporter Antonio Soza died Oct. 22.
He was elected to the Palmdale City Council in 1976 and served until 1984. He served as mayor pro tem during part of his tenure.
Prior to arriving in Palmdale, Soza served with the Merchant Marine in the Pacific for four years, starting in 1945. After visiting various Pacific islands, including Hawaii and Shanghai, China, Soza joined the US Army, where he served for 22 years, retiring in 1972 with the rank of warrant officer, according to a City of Palmdale news release.
While in the Army, Soza became a marksman, bringing home five gold and one bronze medal at the 1961 Military Olympics in Brazil, according to a June 11, 1976 Valley Press article.
His last Army assignment was at the Nike-Hercules missile site on Mt. Gleason in the Angeles National Forest, when he became a Palmdale resident.
Following his Army career, Soza worked for the Pacific Telephone Company as a telecommunications manager. He later worked at Lockheed Martin, retiring in 1993, according to a Facebook post by his daughter, Margo Soza James.
He married Margaret “Margo” in 1951, having met her when she was a professional singer with the Tilly Lopez Big Band and arranged a “date” to church through her sister, according to the Valley Press article. His wife preceded him in death.
The couple raised four children, all four Palmdale High School graduates.
Soza was a member of the VFW, Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations, as well as holding educational advisory posts and a Scoutmaster.
According to a Facebook post by James, “Antonio was devoted to his church, his family, and his nation; all of which he served whole-heartedly throughout his life. His country, his community, his family, and his faith were ever in his heart.”