Local News

Nov 30, 2009 9:24 PM by Ariel Wesler

Death of former Santa Maria city councilman felt throughout community

A former Santa Maria city councilman died this weekend at Marian Medical Center.

Leo Trujillo was first taken to the hospital Tuesday and died Sunday afternoon. He suffered a ruptured aortic valve in his heart. Trujillo served on the Santa Maria city council from 2000 to 2008, before losing to Mike Cordero last November.

Service. . .it's a word many say described 76-year old Leo Trujillo perfectly. He lived the last eleven years of his life in Santa Maria. He spent eight of those years on the city council and volunteered with more than 15 local organizations.

"We're gonna miss him tremendously. He was just a sweetheart of a guy," said Mayor Larry Lavagnino of Santa Maria.

"It's very hard to look at his house and know he's no longer with us," said Mary Bunker of Santa Maria.

She and her husband Ray have lived across the street from the Trujillo's for the past eight years.

"He noticed you and always wanted to say hi. He loved to talk and wanted to tell you things about the community," Bunker said.

Born in Colorado in 1933, Trujillo grew up in a farming community and later served his country.

"I used to do a lot of reminiscing with Leo. He was retired navy and I'm retired air
force," said Ray White of Santa Maria.

When Trujillo first got elected to the city council in 2000, Santa Maria had extra dollars to spend. City leaders say he insisted on saving some of that money. Now, they're using it to help balance the budget.

Trujillo worked on several road improvement projects designed to keep up with rapid growth and voted for the new public library. A true friend say those who knew him, willing to put others before himself.

"I believe that's why a lot of people supported him because he was not a typical politician," said Dottie Lyons, a friend and neighbor.

A funeral mass will be held at 9:30 Friday morning at the St. Louis de Montfort church. That's on Clark Avenue in Orcutt.

Trujillo is survived by his wife, Eileen.

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